Geomorphic influences on ground-flora and overstory composition in upland forests of northwestern lower Michigan

G. E. Host, K. S. Pregitzer

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53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spatial distribution patterns of the ground flora were significantly associated with glacial landform. Specific overstory-ground flora assemblages recur in characteristic landscape positions. The Interlobate Moraine, a predominant landform in the NE portion of the study area, was characterized by a northern hardwood canopy, primarily sugar maple Acer saccharum, basswood Tilia americana, and red oak Quercus rubra, with herbaceous annuals, perennials, and ephemerals forming the ground flora. Other morainal and glaciofluvial landforms supported oak Quercus spp. overstories with a woody ericaceous or graminoid ground flora. Ground-flora and overstory composition were highly correlated, indicating that they respond similarly to variation in environmental and historical factors. Moisture availability as evidenced by soil texture and the presence of subsurface textural discontinuities, appeared to be a predominant factor influencing species distribution patterns. Since moisture availability and related nutrient dynamics are functions of depositional and postglacial history, regional-scale geomorphic patterns constrain forest composition in a probabilistic manner. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1555
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume22
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

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