Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern
Help
 

GeoTreesearch


Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

(1.9 MB)

Title: On the formation of dense understory layers in forests worldwide: consequences and implications for forest dynamics, biodiversity, and succession

Author: Royo, Alejandro A.; Carson, Walter P.

Date: 2006

Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36:1345-1362

Publication Series: Journal/Magazine Article (JRNL)

Description: The mechanistic basis underpinning forest succession is the gap-phase paradigm in which overstory disturbance interacts with seedling and sapling shade tolerance to determine successional trajectories. The theory, and ensuing simulation models, typically assume that understory plants have little impact on the advance regeneration layer's composition. We challenge that assumption by reviewing over 125 papers on 38 species worldwide that form dense and persistent understory canopies. Once established, this layer strongly diminishes tree regeneration, thus altering the rate and direction of forest succession. We term these dense strata recalcitrant understory layers. Over half of the cases reviewed were linked to increases in canopy disturbance and either altered herbivory or fire regimes. Nearly 75% of the studies declared that competition and allelopathy were the likely interference mechanisms decreasing tree regeneration, yet only 25% of the studies used manipulative field experiments to test these putative mechanisms. We present a conceptual model that links the factors predisposing the formation of recalcitrant understory layers with their interference mechanisms and subsequent impacts on succession. We propose that their presence constricts floristic diversity and argue for their explicit inclusion in forest dynamics theory and models. Finally, we offer management suggestions to limit their establishment and mitigate their impacts.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Royo, Alejandro A.; Carson, Walter P. 2006. On the formation of dense understory layers in forests worldwide: consequences and implications for forest dynamics, biodiversity, and succession. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36:1345-1362

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.