Effect of nitrogen availability on forest understorey cover and its consequences for tree regeneration in the Austrian limestone Alps View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2010-01-05

AUTHORS

Katharina Diwold, Stefan Dullinger, Thomas Dirnböck

ABSTRACT

The impact of airborne nitrogen on tree regeneration has attracted increasing interest as deposition loads are by far exceeding natural amounts. Eutrophication may have both direct and indirect effects on the regeneration of forest trees. Here, we focus on potential indirect effects, mediated by nitrogen-dependent patterns in forest understoreys. Using data from a long-term monitoring site in a montane forest ecosystem of the Northern Limestone Alps, we first evaluated correlations between understorey cover of herbs and graminoids and nitrogen availability, as indicated by soil C/N ratios. Then, recruitment and growth rates of the four major tree species of this system (Acer pseudplatanus, Fraxinus excelsior, Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies) were related to understorey cover by means of linear and generalized linear mixed models, taking covariates (soil pH value, radiation, microrelief properties) and spatially varied seed input into account. Nitrogen availability is positively related to graminoid and herb cover. Herb cover had a negative effect on A. pseudoplatanus recruitment, while graminoids had a positive effect on F. sylvatica. Browsing damage on juvenile trees was reduced when graminoid cover was higher We conclude that under specific abiotic and biotic conditions, like on steep, erosion prone slopes, or under high levels of herbivore pressure, understorey vegetation may facilitate tree seedlings rather than compete with them. This highlights the complexity of the factors controlling tree regeneration and the difficulty to predict the net effects of the excess deposition of airborne nitrogen. More... »

PAGES

11-22

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s11258-009-9715-z

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11258-009-9715-z

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1042046950


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