Nomenclature: Castroviejo et al.(1986–2001)for Quercus and Pinus species, and Molero-Mesa et al.(1992)for shrub species.
Canopy vs. soil effects of shrubs facilitating tree seedlings in Mediterranean montane ecosystems
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
2005 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 16, Issue 2, pages 191–198, April 2005
How to Cite
Gómez-Aparicio, L., Gómez, J. M., Zamora, R. and Boettinger, J. L. (2005), Canopy vs. soil effects of shrubs facilitating tree seedlings in Mediterranean montane ecosystems. Journal of Vegetation Science, 16: 191–198. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2005.tb02355.x
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 17 September 2004; Accepted 7 February 2005. Co-ordinating Editor: E. Ezcurra.
- Nurse shrub;
- Positive interaction;
- Removal experiment;
Abstract. Question: Is the facilitative effect of nurse shrubs on early recruitment of trees mediated by a ‘canopy effect’(microclimate amelioration and protection from herbivores), a ‘soil effect’(modification of soil properties), or both?
Location: Two successional montane shrublands at the Sierra Nevada Protected Area, SE Spain.
Method: Seedlings of Quercus and Pinus species were planted in four experimental treatments: (1) under shrubs; (2) in open interspaces without vegetation; (3) under shrubs where the canopies were removed; (4) in open interspaces but covering seedlings with branches, mimicking a shrub canopy.
Results: Both effects benefited seedling performance. However, microclimatic amelioration due to canopy shading had the strongest effect, which was particularly pronounced in the drier site. Below-ground, shrubs did not modify soil physical characteristics, organic matter, total N and P, or water content, but significantly increased available K, which has been shown to improve seedling water-use efficiency under drought conditions.
Conclusions: We propose that in Mediterranean montane ecosystems, characterised by a severe summer drought, pioneer shrubs represent a major safe site for tree early recruitment during secondary succession, improving seedling survival during summer by the modification of both the above-and below-ground environment.