Layering in the Rocky Mountain treeline ecotone: clonal conifer groups' distribution, structure, and functional role

Autor(en): Holtmeier, Friedrich-Karl
Broll, Gabriele 
Stichwörter: `Clonal groups' physiognomy; Adventitious roots; Engelmann spruce; Forestry; FRONT RANGE; ISLANDS; PICEA-ABIES; Site conditions; SPRUCE; Subalpine fir; Treeline dynamics; TREES; TUNDRA; VEGETATION
Erscheinungsdatum: 2017
Volumen: 31
Ausgabe: 3
Startseite: 953
Seitenende: 965
Clonal groups are common to alpine and polar treelines. Distribution, shape, architecture, and development of clonal Picea engelmannii and Abies lasiocarpa in an extremely windy Rocky Mountain treeline ecotone are considered. Clonal groups prevail (> 70% of all tree groups). Most of them consist of A. lasiocarpa (65%). Number, growth form, and damage were documented along transects and field routes. Age structure and development of the clonal groups were assessed using increment cores and stem disks. The groups usually consisted of different clonal series with several clonal members in each. On wind-swept terrain, clonal groups exhibit wedge-like, hedge-like, or mat-like habit. One clonal A. lasiocarpa group was studied in detail and it serves as an example showing formation, architecture, and internal growth pattern of clonal series. The clone members in the clone series exhibited an individualistic growth pattern. Wind-control of growth occasionally overruled the often `chaotic' internal group growth pattern. The effect of prevailing winds, however, temporally overlapped with a `force' directed from the center of the group margin (e.g., competition for light, high stem density), as reflected in recurrent change of eccentricity within the clonal trunks. Clonal groups may be of major importance in treeline dynamics.
ISSN: 09311890
DOI: 10.1007/s00468-017-1520-z

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