Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2012
Publication Date: 9/1/2012
Citation: Bansal, S., Jochum, T., Wardle, D., Nilsson, M. 2012. Interactive effects of burn severity and canopy cover on ecophysiology of tree seedlings in boreal forests [abstract]. Ecological Society of America Proceedings. Paper No. PS71-66. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Wildfires are an important disturbance because they improve habitat conditions for establishing plants. Fires of differing severity can have dramatically different impacts on habitat, particularly when coupled with canopy-level disturbances. In a boreal forest, we outplanted seedlings of four species (two conifers and two deciduous) in a full factorial study that experimentally manipulated ground- and canopy-level disturbances. The ground-level disturbances improved seedling ecophysiological performance, but generally only when coupled with canopy disturbance. Specifically, we observed increased growth rates, leaf N and P concentrations (for all species), increased photosynthetic rates and specific leaf area (for deciduous species) and increased respiration rates (for conifers). The response of each species to disturbance provides a mechanistic understanding of how different combinations and severities of disturbances impact seedling ecophysiology, which ultimately governs forest community compositions following disturbances.