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Seedling Establishment by Conifers above Tree Limit on Niwot Ridge, Front Range, Colorado, U.S.A.
Christopher Daly and David Shankman
Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 17, No. 4 (Nov., 1985), pp. 389-400
Published by: INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1550864
Page Count: 12
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The distribution of conifer seedlings above tree limit on Niwot Ridge was mapped in a general study area and in four permanent plots. Seedling establishment by conifers has been occurring in these areas on more than an occasional basis. The ratio of seedlings to layered trees is high for Picea engelmannii (Engelmann spruce) and very low for Abies lasiocarpa (subalpine fir). In the case of Pinus flexilis (limber pine), which does not layer, the ratio of seedlings to large trees is very high. The P. engelmannii population is evidently maintaining itself or increasing. Sexual recruitment of young A. lasiocarpa is very slow, but layering of mature individuals may be sufficient to maintain the population. In P. flexilis, there is either a high mortality rate among seedlings, or increases in seedling establishment and survival are producing an advance of the tree species limit.