Patch formation and maintenance in an old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest

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Abstract

Cause of patch formation was investigated in Sylvania Wilderness Area, a primary forest remnant in Upper Michigan comprising a mosaic of hemlock Tsuga canadensis, sugar maple Acer saccharum and mixed-forest patches. Although most species pairs have a neutral association between canopy trees and understory trees of other species, hemlock and sugar maple canopy trees both have strong positive self association and negative reciprocal association with each other. No species pairs have a positive reciprocal association on regeneration with each other. MOSAIC, a Markov simulation model in which transition probabilities depend on neighborhood species composition, shows that the negative reciprocal association between hemlock and sugar maple of the intensity observed in this study, could lead to spatial separation into monodominant patches over long time periods (3000 yr). The mixed-forest patches are along spatial continua of varying steepness between sugar maple and hemlock patches. Interactions between sugar maple and hemlock overstory and understory trees, along with the pattern of invasion of hemlock, provide a reasonable explanation for the patch structure. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-527
Number of pages15
JournalEcology
Volume74
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993

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