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Title: Tree age and tree species shape positive and negative interactions in a montane meadow

Author: Haugo, Ryan D.; Halpern, Charles B.;

Date: 2010

Source: Botany. 88: 488-499

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Few studies have considered how interactions between woody and herbaceous species change in direction or magnitude over time or with traits of the dominant woody species. We used a chronosequence approach to explore these interactions in a montane meadow in which Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. and Abies grandis (Dougl. ex. D. Don) Lindl. have established gradually over a period of >70 years. Effects of individual trees (18-73 years old) were quantified by comparing plant community structure and composition under and adjacent to each tree. Trees generally exerted negative effects on cover and richness of resident meadow species and positive effects on colonizing forest herbs. Despite the average decline of meadow species under the canopy, cover was elevated (compared with adjacent meadow) under 33% of trees -- most often under younger Pinus. Cover (but not richness) of meadow species declined with tree age, but the rate and magnitude of this decline did not differ under Pinus or Abies. In contrast, the cover and richness of forest herbs increased steeply with age under Abies, but not under Pinus. Our results illustrate the potential for complex and sometimes unpredictable interactions between woody and herbaceous species. A dynamic view of these relationships is critical for understanding or predicting the consequences of woody plant establishment in grassland and other herb-dominated ecosystems.

Keywords: competition, facilitation, overstory-understory relationships, species' interactions, tree encroachment

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Haugo, Ryan D.; Halpern, Charles, B. 2010. Tree age and tree species shape positive and negative interactions in a montane meadow. Botany. 88: 488-499.


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