Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

The Role of Black Locust (Robinia Pseudo-Acacia) in Forest Succession

L. R. Boring and W. T. Swank
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 72, No. 3 (Nov., 1984), pp. 749-766
DOI: 10.2307/2259529
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2259529
Page Count: 18
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($18.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Role of Black Locust (Robinia Pseudo-Acacia) in Forest Succession
Preview not available

Abstract

(1) Early forest regeneration in southern Appalachian hardwood forests is dominated by the woody nitrogen-fixing legume, black locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia). Although it grows most prevalently on clear-felled areas, abandoned pastures, or disturbed roadsides, it may have historically been an important colonizer of burned sites. Although it commonly reproduces from seed germination, sprouting from stumps and roots is its most prevalent means of regeneration. Early sprout growth is rapid, attaining heights up to 8 m in 3 years. (2) Except for stands on high-nutrient sites, growth decreases after 10-20 years. In less vigorous stands, stem mortality may be high due to attacks by the locust stem borer (Megacyllene robiniae). The high mortality of black locust is an early successional mechanism that releases codominant species such as Liriodendron tulipifera, and creates canopy gaps favourable for growth of longer-lived individuals. (3) Total biomass accretion in 4, 17 and 38-year-old black locust stands growing on fertile, mesic sites was 33, 174 and 399 t ha-1, respectively, in comparison to 198 t ha-1 for an older, uneven-aged mixed oak forest with a history of disturbance. (4) Biomass accumulation was the predominant fate of fixed N in all three stands, with an addition to total soil N apparent only in the 38-year-old stand. (5) Symbiotic N fixation by black locust apparently increased the concentration of NO3 in the soil. The source of elevated soil NO3 is hypothesized to be high fluxes of N from leaf and root litter mineralization and nitrification, and perhaps from canopy insect frass. (6) Total stand N increased at q net average annual rate of 48, 75 and 33 kg ha-1 year-1, respectively, for ages 4, 17 and 38. Nodule biomass was 8, 106 and 4 kg ha-1 in the 4, 17 and 38-year-old stands, respectively. (7) These patterns of N accretion are similar to those reported for other woody nitrogen-fixing species on secondary successional sites. They indicate that peak N fixation occurred from early to intermediate stages of forest succession, and declined with later successional development.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
749
    749
  • Thumbnail: Page 
750
    750
  • Thumbnail: Page 
751
    751
  • Thumbnail: Page 
752
    752
  • Thumbnail: Page 
753
    753
  • Thumbnail: Page 
754
    754
  • Thumbnail: Page 
755
    755
  • Thumbnail: Page 
756
    756
  • Thumbnail: Page 
757
    757
  • Thumbnail: Page 
758
    758
  • Thumbnail: Page 
759
    759
  • Thumbnail: Page 
760
    760
  • Thumbnail: Page 
761
    761
  • Thumbnail: Page 
762
    762
  • Thumbnail: Page 
763
    763
  • Thumbnail: Page 
764
    764
  • Thumbnail: Page 
765
    765
  • Thumbnail: Page 
766
    766