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    Author(s): Jonathan D. Coop; Thomas J. Givnish
    Date: 2008
    Source: Ecology. 89(4): 1101-1111.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (305 B)

    Description

    Montane and subalpine grasslands are prominent, but poorly understood, features of the Rocky Mountains. These communities frequently occur below reversed tree lines on valley floors, where nightly cold air accumulation is spatially coupled with fine soil texture. We used field experiments to assess the roles of minimum temperature, soil texture, grass competition, and ungulate browsing on the growth, photosynthetic performance, and survival of transplanted ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) seedlings at 32 sites straddling such reversed tree lines in the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) of the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico (USA). Seedling growth increased most strongly with increasing nighttime minimum temperatures away from the valley bottoms; seedlings experiencing the coldest temperatures on the caldera floor exhibited stunted needles and often no measurable height growth.

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    Citation

    Coop, Jonathan D., Givnish, Thomas J. 2008. Constraints on tree seedling establishment in montane grasslands of the Valles Caldera, New Mexico. Ecology. 89(4): 1101-1111.

    Keywords

    alpine tree line, conifer seedling, ecotone, frost damage, herbivory, high-montane meadow, inverted timberline, photoinhibition, Pinus ponderosa, Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

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