Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub

    Description

    The analysis of phylogenetic relationships among co-occurring tree species offers insights into the ecological organization of forest communities from an evolutionary perspective and, when employed regionally across thousands of plots, can assist in forest health assessment. Phylogenetic clustering of species, when species are more closely related than expected by chance, suggests a process of evolutionary niche conservatism. Because such communities share much evolutionary history and an affinity for similar environmental conditions, they may be particularly susceptible to threats such as insects and diseases and shifting climate conditions. Meanwhile, a pattern of phylogenetic evenness, in which the species are less closely related than by chance, may indicate competitive exclusion or interspecies facilitation. The ecological integrity of such communities may be less at risk because they may encompass a wider variety of evolutionary adaptations. Using a network of more than 100,000 forest inventory plots across the conterminous United States, we tested whether community phylogenetic structure was significantly clustered or even at multiple scales. Clustering predominated across most of the study area, indicating the widespread significance of evolutionary niche conservatism, except in areas of the west. Phylogenetic structure varied along environmental gradients, suggesting that clustering predominates in more favorable locations and evenness predominates in areas with harsher environments. These results have implications for broad-scale forest health monitoring.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to pubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Potter, Kevin M.; Koch, Frank H. 2014. Patterns of forest phylogenetic community structure across the United States and their possible forest health implications. Forest Science 11 p.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    evolutionary ecology, forest community, forest ecology, forest health assessment, landscape ecology

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page