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Microtopography creates small-scale refugia for boreal bryophytes during clear-cut logging
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
(English)In: Ecography, ISSN 0906-7590, E-ISSN 1600-0587Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

The biotic response of ecological systems to disturbances has traditionally been explained by attributes of the disturbance event itself, such as its intensity, the distribution of traits within a community related to resistance (e.g., physiological, morphological or life-history) or their interaction. Another less investigated mechanism explaining variation in response to disturbance is microtopographic heterogeneity, which might modify survival rates unevenly. We tested the hypothesis that forest floor microtopography creates small-scale refugia for bryophytes following conventional clear-cut logging by comparing a) survival of transplanted bryophytes and b) compositional changes of forest floor bryophytes among three different positions: on the northern side of boulders and stumps and on unsheltered forest floor. The investigation was carried out as a before-and-after study in 12 Swedish boreal forests (eight stands subjected to clear-cutting and four reference stands). Significantly more bryophyte transplants survived where they were shelter by boulders and stumps (30 % and 29 % respectively) compared to on level forest floor (10 %) and and less compositional changes occurred in sheltered microtopographic positions compared to on level forest floor. Shelter from boulders and stumps increased survival from both microclimatic stress and mechanical disturbance but not from burying by logging residues. Our findings provide evidence that microtopography can modify initial responses to disturbances by creating small-scale refugia. Further studies are needed to determine whether this phenomenon is commonly occurring among other organisms and in other ecosystems and to what extent scattered in-situ survivors can increase the recovery rate following disturbances.

Keyword [en]
boreal forest, boulders, bryophytes, mechanical disturbance, liverworts, mosses, stumps
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Plant Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38897OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-38897DiVA: diva2:317307
Available from: 2010-05-03 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Resistance and recolonization of bryophyte assemblages following disturbances: - detecting patterns and exploring mechanisms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Resistance and recolonization of bryophyte assemblages following disturbances: - detecting patterns and exploring mechanisms
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Disturbances are ubiquitous features of most northern forest ecosystems. The subsequent response of plant assemblages on both short (resistance or not) and long term (recolonization or not) will depend on a number of factors operating at several spatial scales. In boreal forest ecosystems, bryophyte assemblages are a conspicuous and species rich group of plants for which these processes are poorly understood. Using a combination of experimental and observational approaches this thesis explores these questions for closed-canopy bryophyte assemblages in relation to a) microtopography (both for the initial and long-term response), b) environmental constrains during post-logging succession and c) disturbance type. My results clearly show that the shade and shelter provided by microtopographic surface structures can increase survival rates of bryophytes following clear-cut logging by decreasing mortality from microclimatic stress and mechanical disturbance. Following clear-cutting, the recovery of forest floor and dead wood living bryophytes seems to be a relatively steady and progressive process without any major bottleneck episodes in the young or semi-mature forest stages with much of the pre-disturbance composition recovered after 50 years. Although boulders were found to increase the initial survival on clear-cuts and hence increase disturbance resistance, we found no evidence that boulders influenced the subsequent recolonization process. Lastly, strong compositional dissimilarities were found in young forests (40 years) following clear-cut logging, wildfire and insect outbreak, indicating divergent trajectories to occur following different disturbances. Hence, early seral stages of forest ecosystems regenerating after natural disturbances seem to compliment young managed forests in maintaining landscape level diversity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Botany, Stockholm University, 2010. 30 p.
Keyword
Bryophytes, boreal forest, boulders, clear-cutting, disturbance, establishment, insect outbreaks, microtopography, recolonization, resistance, spatial heterogeneity, succession, wildfires
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Plant Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38883 (URN)978-91-7447-053-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-04, Föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-05-11 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2010-05-03Bibliographically approved

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