Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

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

(202) 205-8333

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

Publication Information

View PDF (1.7 MB)

Title: Development of Alnus tenuifolia stands on an Alaskan floodplain: patterns of recruitment, disease, and succession

Author: Nossov, Dana R.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Ruess, Roger W.; Kielland, Knut.;

Date: 2011

Source: Journal of Ecology. 99: 621-633

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We investigated the population dynamics of the keystone symbiotic N-fixing species Alnus tenuifolia (thinleaf alder) and the patterns of primary succession on the Tanana River floodplains of interior Alaska, USA. The goals of this study were to characterize (i) the variation in the population structure of thinleaf alder and its influence on ecosystem function; (ii) the role of a fungal disease outbreak in driving the population dynamics of thinleaf alder; (iii) the patterns of landscape-scale thinleaf alder recruitment; and (iv) the variation in successional pathways across the landscape. Soil N concentrations and pools increased tenfold with thinleaf alder stand age due to the accumulation of N-rich organic material. Alder stem density varied threefold among early successional stands, and was directly related to soil N. The current outbreak of a fungal disease caused widespread branch die back and mortality of alder. Young stems were disproportionately susceptible to disease-induced mortality. Overall disease incidence and mortality of young stems were positively related to alder stem density. Thinleaf alder age structures revealed that landscape-scale recruitment was pulsed over time. Multiple pathways of primary succession were found using indirect gradient analysis and associated environmental characteristics were described. The population dynamics of thinleaf alder and the inter-relationship with disease driven disturbance can strongly influence soil N accumulation and ecosystem function in primary succession on an active glacial floodplain. The temporal pattern of thinleaf alder recruitment across the landscape appears to reflect the influence of the hydrologic regime on silt bar development and alder dispersal limitation and population dynamics. Differential life history traits explain the predominant successional pathway, but an alternative successional pathway suggests this pattern can be altered by stochastic events, disturbance, environmental variation or other factors.

Keywords: alder, Alnus incana, boreal forest, disease, nitrogen fixer, plant population and community dynamics, population dynamics, primary succession

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.



Nossov, Dana R.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Ruess, Roger W.; Kielland, Knut. 2011. Development of Alnus tenuifolia stands on an Alaskan floodplain: patterns of recruitment, disease, and succession. Journal of Ecology. 99: 621-633.


 [ 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.