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Microscale patterns of tree establishment near upper treeline, Snowy Range, Wyoming, USA

Posted date: May 29, 2015
Publication Year: 
1999
Authors: Moir, W. H.; Rochelle, Shannon G.; Schoettle, Anna W.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. 31(4): 379-388

Abstract

We report tree seedling (mostly Picea engelmannii, some Abies lasiocarpa, very infrequent Pinus contorta) invasion into meadows at upper timberline in the Snowy Range, Wyoming, from 1994 to 1996. We used gradient analysis to relate this to environmental patterns, particularly plant community structure (as aggregates of plant life-forms) and persistence of snowpack in 1995 and 1996. Tree seedlings established best at sites where snow melted earliest; the site with the shortest growing season had fewest seedlings. Microsites dominated by vascular plants admitted few or no seedlings; seedlings were most likely to be found where cryptogams dominated. These findings have implications for forest advance under some climate scenarios and successional hypotheses.

Citation

Moir, W. H.; Rochelle, Shannon G.; Schoettle, A. W. 1999. Microscale patterns of tree establishment near upper treeline, Snowy Range, Wyoming, USA. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. 31(4): 379-388.