Understory Vegetation in Old-Growth and Second-Growth Tsuga Canadensis Forests in Western Massachusetts

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Understory Vegetation in Old-Growth and Second-Growth Tsuga Canadensis Forests in Western Massachusetts

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dc.contributor.author D’Amato, Anthony W.
dc.contributor.author Orwig, David A.
dc.contributor.author Foster, David Russell
dc.date.accessioned 2010-07-26T13:38:47Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.citation D'Amato, Anthony W., David A. Orwig, and David R. Foster. 2009. Understory vegetation in old-growth and second-growth Tsuga canadensis forests in western Massachusetts. Forest Ecology and Management 257(3): 1043-1052. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0378-1127 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:4317710
dc.description.abstract We compared the understory communities (herbs, shrubs, and tree seedlings and saplings) of old-growth and second-growth eastern hemlock forests (Tsuga canadensis) in western Massachusetts, USA. Second-growth hemlock forests originated following clear-cut logging in the late 1800s and were 108–136 years old at the time of sampling. Old-growth hemlock forests contained total ground cover of herbaceous and shrub species that was approximately 4 times greater than in second-growth forests (4.02 ± 0.41%/m^2 versus 1.06 ± 0.47%/m^2) and supported greater overall species richness and diversity. In addition, seedling and sapling densities were greater in old-growth stands compared to second-growth stands and the composition of these layers was positively correlated with overstory species composition (Mantel tests, r > 0.26, P < 0.05) highlighting the strong positive neighborhood effects in these systems. Ordination of study site understory species composition identified a strong gradient in community composition from second-growth to old-growth stands. Vector overlays of environmental and forest structural variables indicated that these gradients were related to differences in overstory tree density, nitrogen availability, and coarse woody debris characteristics among hemlock stands. These relationships suggest that differences in resource availability (e.g., light, moisture, and nutrients) and microhabitat heterogeneity between old-growth and second-growth stands were likely driving these compositional patterns. Interestingly, several common forest understory plants, including Aralia nudicaulis, Dryopteris intermedia, and Viburnum alnifolium, were significant indicator species for old-growth hemlock stands, highlighting the lasting legacy of past land use on the reestablishment and growth of these common species within second-growth areas. The return of old-growth understory conditions to these second-growth areas will largely be dependent on disturbance and self-thinning mediated changes in overstory structure, resource availability, and microhabitat heterogeneity. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Organismic and Evolutionary Biology en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Other Research Unit en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier en_US
dc.relation.isversionof doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2008.11.003 en_US
dc.relation.hasversion http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/publications/pdfs/Damato_ForestEcology_2009.pdf en_US
dash.license OAP
dc.subject Tsuga canadensis en_US
dc.subject Massachusetts en_US
dc.subject understory vegetation en_US
dc.subject old growth en_US
dc.subject neighborhood effects en_US
dc.subject species diversity en_US
dc.title Understory Vegetation in Old-Growth and Second-Growth Tsuga Canadensis Forests in Western Massachusetts en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.description.version Accepted Manuscript en_US
dc.relation.journal Forest Ecology and Management en_US
dash.depositing.author Foster, David Russell
dc.date.available 2010-07-26T13:38:47Z

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [6463]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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