Interspecific competition limits the realized niche of fraxinus nigra along a waterlogging gradient

Christopher E Looney, Anthony W. D’amato, Shawn Fraver, Brian J Palik, Lee E. Frelich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gradient studies of wetland forests have inferred that competition from upland tree species confines waterlogging-tolerant tree species to hydric environments. Little is known, however, about competition effects on individual-tree growth along stress gradients in wetland forests. We investigated tree growth and competition in mixed-species stands representing a waterlogging stress gradient in Fraxinus nigra Marsh. (black ash) forests in Minnesota, USA. Using competition indices, we examined how F. nigra basal area increment (BAI) responded to competition along the gradient and whether competition was size-asymmetric (as for light) or size-symmetric (as for soil resources). We modeled spatial distributions of F. nigra and associated tree species to assess how variation in species mixtures influenced competition. We found that although F. nigra BAI did not significantly differ with variations in site moisture, the importance of competition decreased as waterlogging stress increased. Competition across the gradient was primarily size-asymmetric (for light). Variation in species mixtures along the gradient was an important influence on competition. Some segregation of tree species occurred at all but the most upland site, where waterlogging stress was lowest and evidence of competition was greatest, confirming that competition from upland tree species confines F. nigra and potentially other waterlogging-tolerant species to hydric environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1292-1301
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume48
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Northern Research Station, the U.S. Department of Interior Northeast Climate Adaption Science Center, and the University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. We especially thank the Chippewa National Forest for providing logistical support and Madeline Sarcone for assisting with field data collection. We are grateful to the Associate Editor and several reviewers who provided constructive comments on multiple versions of this paper that greatly improved its quality.

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Northern Research Station, the U.S. Department of Interior Northeast Climate Adaption Science Center, and the University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. We especially thank the Chippewa National Forest for providing logistical support and Madeline Sarcone for assisting with field data collection. We are grateful to the Associate Editor and several reviewers who provided constructive comments on multiple versions of this paper that greatly improved its quality.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Canadian Science Publishing. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Black ash wetlands
  • Environmental stress gradient
  • Point pattern analysis
  • Size symmetry
  • Species interactions

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