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Divergent regeneration responses of two closely related tree species to direct abiotic and indirect biotic effects of climate change
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2015 (English)In: Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN 0378-1127, Vol. 342, 21-29 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Changing temperature and precipitation can strongly influence plant reproduction. However, also biotic interactions might indirectly affect the reproduction and recruitment success of plants in the context of climate change. Information about the interactive effects of changes in abiotic and biotic factors is essential, but still largely lacking, to better understand the potential effects of a changing climate on plant populations. Here we analyze the regeneration from seeds of Acer platanoides and Acer pseudoplatanus, two currently secondary forest tree species from seven regions along a 2200 km-wide latitudinal gradient in Europe. We assessed the germination, seedling survival and growth during two years in a common garden experiment where temperature, precipitation and competition with the understory vegetation were manipulated. A. platanoides was more sensitive to changes in biotic conditions while A. pseudoplatanus was affected by both abiotic and biotic changes. In general, competition reduced (in A. platanoides) and warming enhanced (in A. pseudoplatanus) germination and survival, respectively. Reduced competition strongly increased the growth of A. platanoides seedlings. Seedling responses were independent of the conditions experienced by the mother tree during seed production and maturation. Our results indicate that, due to the negative effects of competition on the regeneration of A. platanoides, it is likely that under stronger competition (projected under future climatic conditions) this species will be negatively affected in terms of germination, survival and seedling biomass. Climate-change experiments including both abiotic and biotic factors constitute a key step forward to better understand the response of tree species' regeneration to climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 342, 21-29 p.
Keyword [en]
Acer, Regeneration, Latitudinal gradient, Temperature, Precipitation, Competition
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116751DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.01.003ISI: 000350934800003OAI: diva2:811448


Available from: 2015-05-12 Created: 2015-04-27 Last updated: 2015-05-12Bibliographically approved

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Cousins, Sara A. O.Plue, Jan
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Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
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