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dc.contributor.authorAméztegui González, Aitor
dc.contributor.authorColl Mir, Lluís
dc.description.abstractThe predicted upward displacement of forest species due to climate warming is expected to be modulated by a medley of abiotic and biotic factors acting at microsite level. Species-specific differences in plant responses to this set of environmental factors can thus have strong implications in the future dynamics of forest ecosystems. To gain a better understanding of the main fine-scale factors and processes driving present and future species performance in the montane and subalpine belt of the Eastern Pyrenees (NE Spain), we established a set of experimental mixed plantations along elevational and environmental gradients using the four tree species dominating these areas (Pinus sylvestris, Pinus uncinata, Abies alba and Betula pendula). Once the plantations had been established, the performance and growth of 72 seedlings of each species was monitored and linear and non-linear models were fitted to identify the main factors controlling their survival and growth. We found most of the mortality to occur during the third growing season, following a harsh winter and a drought period during summer. Mortality patterns were highly species- and site-specific. At the subalpine belt, shrubs were found to have a facilitative effect on winter survival of P. sylvestris (mortality < 10%) but not on the other species. At the montane belt, A. alba mortality during the summer increased in areas with high light exposure and herbaceous cover (mortality > 30%). All species except P. uncinata showed lower height growth at high elevation, with differences between sites matching differences in growing season duration (20%). Our results underline the strong impact that short periods of extreme climate can have in the performance of plants developing in mountainous areas far from their optimal elevational range. However, they also underline a potentially critical role played by biotic and abiotic microsite factors in mediating species responses to these climatic events.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was primarily supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation via the projects Consolider-Ingenio Montes (CSD2008-00040), DINAMIX (AGL2009-13270-C02) and RESILFOR (AGL2012-40039-C02-01). The Spanish Ministry of Science provided LC with support through a Ramon y Cajal contract (RYC-2009-04985), and the Spanish Ministry of Education provided AA with support through a predoctoral grant (FPU Program– AP2007-01663). The authors are particularly grateful to A. Bargués, S. Martín, L. Ivorra and M. Pallarés for their invaluable work during field sampling and laboratory processing. F. Cano helped us to find the most suitable forests for this study, and the Socarrel team kindly offered their facilities during the fieldwork stage. We also thank the ‘Parc Natural del Cadí-Moixeró’ and the ‘Montellà i Martinet’ municipality for kindly giving permission to access the park and sample the data. Three anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments and suggestions.
dc.relation.isformatofVersió postprint del document publicat a:
dc.relation.ispartofForest Ecology and Management, 2013, vol. 303, p. 25-34
dc.rightscc-by-nc-nd, (c) Elsevier, 2013
dc.subjectPlant–plant interactions
dc.subjectElevational gradient
dc.subject.classificationCanvis climàtics
dc.subject.classificationFlora forestal
dc.subject.otherClimatic changes
dc.subject.otherForest plants
dc.titleUnraveling the role of light and biotic interactions on seedling performance of four Pyrenean species along environmental gradients

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cc-by-nc-nd, (c) Elsevier, 2013
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc-by-nc-nd, (c) Elsevier, 2013