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Spatial patterning in the canopy gap regime of a subalpine Abies-Picea forest in the northeastern United States


, : Spatial patterning in the canopy gap regime of a subalpine Abies-Picea forest in the northeastern United States. Journal of Vegetation Science 6(6): 807-814

Spatial patterning in the disturbance regime of a forest affects the vegetation dynamics. Therefore, the distribution of canopy gaps was examined in detail for a subalpine Abies-Picea forest in the northeastern United States. Gaps were not randomly distributed. The fraction of forest area in gaps and the abundance of gaps varied significantly with topographic position, elevation, and slope percent. On average, 15% of the forest was influenced by gaps, but the gap fraction was greater near rides (23%) and near streams (27%) than on the backslope (13%). Also, gaps were larger and more abundant near streams and ridges. Gap fraction varied with elevation as well: more of the forest was disturbed at lower and higher elevations than at mid-elevations. Significantly more of the forest on steep slopes ( gtoreq 30%) was under gaps. As a result of this patterning, some parts of the Abies-Picea forest were predictably more disturbed than others. A remaining question is whether this patterning is sufficient to influence the regeneration environment and thus forest composition.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.2307/3236394


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