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Ten Years of Tree Seedling Establishment and Mortality in an Ohio Deciduous Forest Complex

Ralph E. J. Boerner and Jennifer A. Brinkman
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 123, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1996), pp. 309-317
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2996780
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2996780
Page Count: 9
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Ten Years of Tree Seedling Establishment and Mortality in an Ohio Deciduous Forest Complex
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Abstract

This study quantified tree seedling establishment and mortality over a ten year period (1984-1993) in an Ohio deciduous forest complex which included upland beech-maple (Acer-Fagus) forest, lowland ash-elm (Fraxinus-Ulmus) forest, and young pin oak (Quercus palustris) forest. Annual establishment averaged 316 seedlings/100 m2, of which approximately 70% were ashes and 17% were maples. There were distinct peaks of ash and maple establishment in 1988 and 1990, and of elm establishment in 1986, 1988, and 1991. There were no significant correlations between ash or maple establishment and seasonal precipitation patterns whereas peaks of elm establishment correlated with drier-than-average springs. Ash seedlings were more abundant in lowland than upland plots, whereas the pattern for maple seedlings was the reverse. Maple seedlings were most abundant in canopy gaps, whereas ash seedlings were most abundant in wet depressions. Median longevity for most seedlings was 5-7 months, and >95% died within one year. Of the 2553 seedlings monitored, only two grew out of the seedling size class during this decade. In this site, deer browsing was more important than environmental gradients or climate factors in determining seedling longevity and mortality.

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