Ecophysiology of exotic and native shrubs in Southern Wisconsin - II. Annual growth and carbon gain

Robin A. Harrington, Becky J. Brown, Peter B. Reich, James H. Fownes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


In this study we compared the aboveground growth rates of two exotic shrubs (Rhamnus cathartica and Lonicera X bella) and two native shrubs (Cornus racemosa and Prunus serotina) that are important in southern Wisconsin hardwood forests. For all species except P. serotina, aboveground growth rates in an open habitat were greater than in an understory environment. Growth rates differed among species in the open habitat and were significantly correlated with woody production per unit leaf area. All species had greater leaf area per unit wood biomass in the understory than in the open habitat. A comparison of above-ground growth and annual carbon gain suggests much greater respiratory costs in the open habitat, especially for P. serotina. The data from this study were used to examine mechanisms of species response to different light availabilities. We found that the species that increased their production per unit leaf area in response to increased light did not increase their leaf area per unit wood biomass in response to low light, and vice versa. Production of proportionately high leaf area may be important for the growth of C. racemosa in low light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-373
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1989


  • Aboveground growth
  • Carbon gain
  • Exotic shrubs
  • Leaf area
  • Shrub productivity


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