skip to main content

Title: Contrasting Development of Canopy Structure and Primary Production in Planted and Naturally Regenerated Red Pine Forests
Globally, planted forests are rapidly replacing naturally regenerated stands but the implications for canopy structure, carbon (C) storage, and the linkages between the two are unclear. We investigated the successional dynamics, interlinkages and mechanistic relationships between wood net primary production (NPPw) and canopy structure in planted and naturally regenerated red pine (Pinus resinosa Sol. ex Aiton) stands spanning ≥ 45 years of development. We focused our canopy structural analysis on leaf area index (LAI) and a spatially integrative, terrestrial LiDAR-based complexity measure, canopy rugosity, which is positively correlated with NPPw in several naturally regenerated forests, but which has not been investigated in planted stands. We estimated stand NPPw using a dendrochronological approach and examined whether canopy rugosity relates to light absorption and light–use efficiency. We found that canopy rugosity increased similarly with age in planted and naturally regenerated stands, despite differences in other structural features including LAI and stem density. However, the relationship between canopy rugosity and NPPw was negative in planted and not significant in naturally regenerated stands, indicating structural complexity is not a globally positive driver of NPPw. Underlying the negative NPPw-canopy rugosity relationship in planted stands was a corresponding decline in light-use efficiency, which peaked in the more » youngest, densely stocked stand with high LAI and low structural complexity. Even with significant differences in the developmental trajectories of canopy structure, NPPw, and light use, planted and naturally regenerated stands stored similar amounts of C in wood over a 45-year period. We conclude that widespread increases in planted forests are likely to affect age-related patterns in canopy structure and NPPw, but planted and naturally regenerated forests may function as comparable long-term C sinks via different structural and mechanistic pathways. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1659338 1655095
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10108782
Journal Name:
Forests
Volume:
10
Issue:
7
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
566
ISSN:
1999-4907
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. 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 »tree- or stand-scale δ13C-based iWUE chronologies for changing tree size. We demonstrate how to use such data to correct and interpret multi-decadal composite isotope chronologies in both shade-regenerated and open-grown tree cohorts, and we highlight the importance of understanding site history when interpreting δ13C time series.« less
  2. 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 »area index (VAI), resistance strongly predicted ANPP w resistance while temporal VAI and structural complexity changes did not. We conclude that the presence of material legacies in the form of forest structure may affect primary production stability following disturbance and that how legacies are quantified may affect the interpretation of disturbance response.« less
  3. 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 »impacts of warming. Critically, if forests do not acclimate, the ∆C a /∆T must be above ca . 89 ppm⋅°C −1 to avoid chronic stress, a threshold met by 55% of climate projections. If forests do acclimate, the ∆C a /∆T must rise above ca . 67 ppm⋅°C −1 for NPP and biomass to increase, a lower threshold met by 71% of projections.« less
  4. 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 »structure.« less
  5. Cajander larch (Larix cajanderi Mayr.) forests of the Siberian Arctic are experiencing increased wildfire activity in conjunction with climate warming. These shifts could affect postfire variation in the density and arrangement of trees and understory plant communities. To better understand how understory plant composition, abundance, and diversity vary with tree density, we surveyed understory plant communities and stand characteristics (e.g., canopy cover, active layer depth, and soil organic layer depth) within 25 stands representing a density gradient of similarly-aged larch trees that established following a 1940 fire near Cherskiy, Russia. Understory plant diversity and mean total plant abundance decreased with increased canopy cover. Canopy cover was also the most important variable affecting individual species’ abundances. In general, tall shrubs (e.g., Betula nana subsp. exilis) were more abundant in low-density stands with high light availability, and mosses (e.g., Sanionia spp.) were more abundant in high-density stands with low light availability. These results provide evidence that postfire variation in tree recruitment affects understory plant community composition and diversity as stands mature. Therefore, projected increases in wildfire activity in the Siberian Arctic could have cascading impacts on forest structure and composition in both overstory and understory plant communities.