Canadian Forest Service Publications

Individual response traits of understory plants vary along linked-press and compounded-pulse disturbance gradients in northern temperate and boreal forests. F. Wayne Bell, Holly D. Deighton, Jennifer Dacosta, Isabelle Aubin, Steven G. Newmaster, Eric B. Searle, Shelley Hunt. 2023. Vol 540.

Year: 2023

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40956

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.

† This site may require a fee

Mark record

Plain Language Summary

Community-weighted means (CWM) and functional dispersion (FDis) are common indicators of functional diversity and measures of trait variability. We studied the trait-level response of woody and herbaceous understory plants in northern temperate and boreal forest communities to determine how these traits respond to disturbances caused by climate, historic fire regimes, and silviculture systems (linked-press), and disturbances associated with intensified silviculture pressure (compounded-pulse). We used fifth year post-harvesting disturbance data from The Intensive Management Science Partnership (NEBIE Plot Network), a large-plot field experiment in northern temperate and boreal forests in Ontario, Canada. We assumed a randomized complete block design to analyze treatment effects and applied treatments in a semi-operational manner to two-hectare experimental units. We found that individual response traits were affected by linked-press and compounded-pulse disturbances uniquely, with logarithmic (stress-gradient hypothesis) or hump-shaped (intermediate-disturbance hypothesis) patterns observed. Some traits (lateral spread of clones, seed weight) had no difference. Results suggest that interactions between linked-press and compounded-pulse disturbances exert non-linear effects on CWM and FDis of plant response traits for woody/herbaceous understory plants in these forests. Research has focused on the management impacts on compositional diversity (i.e., species richness/abundance) with few studies addressing the impact of disturbance on functional diversity.