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Cernusak, Lucas (Ed.)Abstract Stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) in tree rings have been widely used to study changes in intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE), sometimes with limited consideration of how C-isotope discrimination is affected by tree height and canopy position. Our goals were to quantify the relationships between tree size or tree microenvironment and wood δ13C for eight functionally diverse temperate tree species in northern New England and to better understand the physical and physiological mechanisms underlying these differences. We collected short increment cores in closed-canopy stands and analyzed δ13C in the most recent 5 years of growth. We also sampled saplings in both shaded and sun-exposed environments. In closed-canopy stands, we found strong tree-size effects on δ13C, with 3.7–7.2‰ of difference explained by linear regression vs height (0.11–0.28‰ m−1), which in some cases is substantially stronger than the effect reported in previous studies. However, open-grown saplings were often isotopically more similar to large codominant trees than to shade-grown saplings, indicating that light exposure contributes more to the physiological and isotopic differences between small and large trees than does height. We found that in closed-canopy forests, δ13C correlations with diameter at breast height were nonlinear but also strong, allowing a straightforward procedure to correctmore »
The capacity of forests to resist structural change and retain material legacies–the biotic and abiotic resources that persist through disturbance–is crucial to sustaining ecosystem function after disturbance. However, the role of forest structure as both a material legacy and feature supporting carbon (C) cycling stability following disturbance has not been widely investigated. We used a large-scale disturbance manipulation to ask whether legacies of lidar-derived canopy structures drive 3-year primary production responses to disturbance. As part of the Forest Resilience Threshold Experiment (FoRTE) in northern Michigan, USA we simulated phloem-disrupting disturbances producing a range of severities and affecting canopy trees of different sizes. We quantified the legacies of forest structure using two approaches: one measuring the change in structure and primary production from pre-to post-disturbance and the second estimating resistance as log transformed ratios of control and treatment values. We found that total aboveground wood net primary production (ANPP w ) was similar across disturbance severities as legacy trees rapidly increased rates of primary production. Experiment-wide, the disturbance had limited effects on change in mean structural complexity values; however, high variance underscored large differences in the magnitude and direction of complexity's response at the plot-scale. Plot-scale structural complexity, but not vegetationmore »
The response of forests to climate change depends in part on whether the photosynthetic benefit from increased atmospheric CO 2 (∆C a = future minus historic CO 2 ) compensates for increased physiological stresses from higher temperature (∆T). We predicted the outcome of these competing responses by using optimization theory and a mechanistic model of tree water transport and photosynthesis. We simulated current and future productivity, stress, and mortality in mature monospecific stands with soil, species, and climate sampled from 20 continental US locations. We modeled stands with and without acclimation to ∆C a and ∆T, where acclimated forests adjusted leaf area, photosynthetic capacity, and stand density to maximize productivity while avoiding stress. Without acclimation, the ∆C a -driven boost in net primary productivity (NPP) was compromised by ∆T-driven stress and mortality associated with vascular failure. With acclimation, the ∆C a -driven boost in NPP and stand biomass (C storage) was accentuated for cooler futures but negated for warmer futures by a ∆T-driven reduction in NPP and biomass. Thus, hotter futures reduced forest biomass through either mortality or acclimation. Forest outcomes depended on whether projected climatic ∆C a /∆T ratios were above or below physiological thresholds that neutralized the negativemore »
Intermediate disturbances are an important component of many forest disturbance regimes, with effects on canopy structure and related functions that are highly dependent on the nature and intensity of the perturbation. Ice storms are an important disturbance mechanism in temperate forests that often result in moderate-severity, diffuse canopy damage. However, it has not previously been possible to distinguish the specific effect of ice storm intensity (as ice accretion) from predisturbance stand characteristics and physiographic factors. In this study, we utilized a novel experimental ice storm treatment to evaluate the effects of variable ice accretion levels on forest canopy structure. Our results verified significant impacts of ice storm disturbance on near-term canopy structural reorganization. Canopy openness, light transmission, and complexity increased significantly relative to predisturbance baselines and undisturbed controls. We documented variable impacts with disturbance intensity, as significant canopy changes largely occurred with ice accretion levels of ≥12.7 mm. Repeated ice storm disturbance (two consecutive years) had marginal, rather than compounding, effects on forest canopy structure. Our findings are relevant to understanding how ice storms can affect near-term forest canopy structural reorganization and ecosystem processes and add to a growing base of knowledge on the effects of intermediate disturbances on canopymore »
Movement patterns of three arboreal primates in a Neotropical moist forest explained by LiDAR-estimated canopy structure
Many arboreal mammals in Neotropical forests are important seed dispersers that influence the spatial patterns of tree regeneration via their movement patterns, which in turn are determined by the canopy structure of the forest itself. However, the relationship between arboreal mammal movement and canopy structure is poorly understood, due in large part to the complexity of quantifying arboreal habitat structure.
We relate detailed movement trajectories of three sympatric primate species to attributes of canopy structure derived from airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) in order to understand the role of structure in arboreal movement in the tropical moist forest of Barro Colorado Island, Panama.
We used high-resolution LiDAR to quantify three-dimensional attributes of the forest canopy of the entire island, high-resolution GPS tracking to map the movement patterns of the monkey species, and step selection functions to relate movement decisions to canopy attributes.
We found that movement decisions were correlated with canopy height and distance to gaps, which indicate forest maturity and lateral connectivity, in all three species. In the two faster-moving species, step selection was also correlated with the thickness of the crown layer and the density of vegetation within the crown.
The correlations detected are fully inmore »