Factors Influencing Species Composition in Canopy Gaps: The Importance of Edge Proximity in Hueston Woods, Ohio

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Abstract

In this research, we attempt to quantify the factors structuring woody species composition within forest gaps in the interior of Hueston Woods Nature Preserve, Ohio. Our results indicate that composition is related not only to factors commonly cited in other studies, including disturbance history, topographic position, and environmental factors (e.g., gap age, soil pH, slope, and aspect), but also to the proximity of forest edge communities. Partitioning of species variation to environmental factors, spatial factors, and spatially structured environmental factors reinforces the importance of both environment and edge proximity in explaining gap composition. These findings underscore the need for a more complete understanding of the potential impacts of edge effects in fragmented landscapes.

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