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Influence of forest structure and environmental variables on recruit survival and performance of two Mediterranean tree species (Quercus faginea L. and Q. suber Lam.)

AuthorsMaltez-Mouro, Sara; García, Luis V. ; Freitas, Helena
KeywordsMediterranean forest
Evergreen oak
Winter-deciduous oak
Litter effects
Issue Date2009
CitationEuropean Journal of Forest Research 128: 27-36 (2009).
AbstractWe investigated the regeneration requirements of the two dominant tree species in a mixed-oak forest of SW Portugal: Quercus suber (cork oak, evergreen) and Q. faginea (Portuguese oak, winter-deciduous). We hypothesized that recruits of different oak species are differentially infuenced by soil and overstory variables and different factors explain the recruitment occurrence and performance of the same species. We sampled the recruits’ height and diameter, and several environmental and forest structure variables of their microsites. Both recruitment occurrence and performance were modeled using generalized linear models. Our final models predicted the probability of occurrence of recruits of Q. faginea and Q. suber with 74 and 82% of accuracy, respectively, and explained about 50% of the variance of their recruitment performance. The recruits of Q. faginea tended to occur in microsites with higher canopy height, canopy density and litter cover, and closer to both conspecific and heterospecific adults, while the opposite was true for recruits of Q. suber. The performance of recruits of Q. suber was favored by the higher litter cover (a good surrogate for N and P availability), but negatively affected by the higher litter depth. We concluded the following: there were significantly different regeneration niches for each species (Q. faginea and Q. suber); the factors explaining the recruitment occurrence differed from those explaining the recruitment performance; the overstory plays a complex and important role in the regeneration process; different variables apparently related with the same environmental factor (e.g. litter cover and litter depth) could affect recruits in an opposite way; sensitive trade-offs must be considered for delineating management actions, since they could favor the regeneration of Q. suber, but, at the same time, negatively affect the regeneration of Q. faginea.
Description10 páginas. Special thanks go to Ana Mouro for assisting in the Weldwork and to Teodoro Marañón for comments and reviews of the manuscript. http://www.irnase.csic.es/users/lventura/Eur%20J%20For%20Res%20128(1%2027-36.pdf
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