• Issue
    Volume 31, Issue 1
    i-iv, 1-222
    January 2020

ISSUE INFORMATION

Free Access

Issue Information

  • Pages: i-iv
  • First Published: 17 January 2020

RESEARCH ARTICLES

Greater effect of warming on community composition with increased precipitation and in moister landscape location

  • Pages: 3-13
  • First Published: 24 September 2019
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In the Mongolia steppe, changes in plant community composition with experimental warming depend on precipitation and vary within the landscape. Warming affects locally restricted species more strongly, reducing variation in community composition at the landscape scale. We predict climate change will not produce consistent responses in plant communities across the landscape and will have greater consequences in more mesic locations.

Open Access

Disentangling observer error and climate change effects in long-term monitoring of alpine plant species composition and cover

  • Pages: 14-25
  • First Published: 09 October 2019
Description unavailable

Observer errors inevitably occur at vegetation surveys. We aim at quantifying their random and systematic components and disentangling pseudo-changes from vegetation changes during the past decades. We found that only ≤5% were systematic errors and that changes over time exceeded pseudo-changes when time spans were ≥10 years.

How do plant communities differ between fire refugia and fire-generated early-seral vegetation?

  • Pages: 26-39
  • First Published: 24 September 2019
Description unavailable

Fire refugia — unburned or low-severity burned patches where trees survived fire — are important landscape elements, but little is known about their composition in dry forest ecosystems. We compared post-fire understory plant communities in fire refugia and stand-replacement patches and found that communities showed strong compositional affinities, but exhibited shifts in reproductive trait prevalence and differences in landscape-scale species richness.

Effects of 20th-century settlement fires on landscape structure and forest composition in eastern Quebec, Canada

  • Pages: 40-52
  • First Published: 30 October 2019
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Using an archival map dating from 1938 and other spatial data, this study showed that anthropogenic fires generated a recognizable landscape pattern of land use in eastern Quebec, Canada. Lingering impacts of 20th-century fires on present-day forests were identified using the peculiar spatial distribution of tree species. Specifically, the presence and spatial distribution of aspen in the present-day landscape is tightly associated with previously burnt areas

Plant diversity in deciduous temperate forests reflects interplay among ancient and recent environmental stress

  • Pages: 53-62
  • First Published: 30 September 2019
Description unavailable

Our results indicate that old-clade plants (pteridophytes and ancient lineages of lilioids and dicots) were more abundant in localities with mild abiotic conditions (i.e., low sun exposure and water-rich areas with closed canopy); on the other hand, dry oligotrophic habitats were distinguished by short-lived light-demanding species with a phylogenetically younger age structure (some asterids).

Forest fragmentation shapes the alpha–gamma relationship in plant diversity

  • Pages: 63-74
  • First Published: 30 September 2019
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We tested whether forest fragmentation affects the relationship between alpha and gamma diversity. We surveyed herbaceous forest plants (specialists and generalists) in agricultural landscapes in northern France along a gradient of forest fragmentation: from contiguous forests to isolated forest patches. We found that forest specialists shifted from linear to curvilinear plateau relationships as fragmentation increases while generalists showed the opposite pattern.

Fragmentation reduces the importance of niche-based factors relative to dispersal traits in structuring temperate forest understories

  • Pages: 75-83
  • First Published: 08 October 2019
Description unavailable

We investigated community assembly in Wisconsin forests at two time periods (1950s and 2000s). Both environmental and dispersal processes influenced the assembly of these forests. However, dispersal limitation occurred more commonly in the fragmented southern upland forests than in the more continuous northern upland forests. The importance of dispersal limitation was higher in the 2000s than in the 1950s.

Tracing the signs of local dispersal in the temperate forest understorey using spatially structured vegetation data

  • Pages: 84-94
  • First Published: 01 November 2019
Description unavailable

We studied local dispersal in the forest understorey, by relating the occurrence of species in focal plots with their neighbourhood. We used dispersal, clonal and fecundity-related traits and found a consistent neighbourhood effect on species occurrence, although its link to the traits was rather weak. We argue that patterns of seed deposition may be disrupted by processes other than dispersal.

Interaction of herbs and tree saplings is mediated by soil fertility and stand evergreenness in southern Appalachian forests

  • Pages: 95-106
  • First Published: 31 October 2019
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The interaction between herbs and tree recruits in southern Appalachian forests can range from positive covariance under the suppressive effect of evergreen shrubs in sites with acidic soils, to competitive exclusion of small tree saplings through interference from tall herbs in base cation-rich sites.

Ecological drivers of tree assemblage in tropical, subtropical and subalpine forests

  • Pages: 107-117
  • First Published: 08 October 2019
Description unavailable

We tested the importance of dispersal and/or environmental processes in shaping tree distribution across life stages in three forest types using summary statistics at the community and species levels. Our results suggest that spatial patterns are mainly structured by the dispersal process at the community level. Integrating the life stage effect is critical to appreciating community assembly at the species level.

Open Access

Epiphyll specialization for leaf and forest successional stages in a tropical lowland rainforest

  • Pages: 118-128
  • First Published: 19 October 2019
Description unavailable

We studied the dynamics of epiphyll communities using leaf chronosequences in forest gaps and closed forest. Species sets on young leaves were nested within sets on older leaves, while species turnover among leaves was high within and between gaps and forest. Thus, both early and late forest successional stages contribute to epiphyll diversity and epiphyll communities develop through species accumulation.

Leaf functional traits vary within and across tree species in tropical cloud forest on rock outcrop versus volcanic soil

  • Pages: 129-138
  • First Published: 14 October 2019
Description unavailable

We investigated leaf trait variation within and across tree species growing on rocky outcrops (FOR) and on deep volcanic soil (FOV) in a tropical cloud forest. Resource conservation strategies prevailed in FOR and resource acquisition strategies in FOV. Leaf area and specific leaf area are critical indicator traits for the use and allocation of resources in FOR and FOV (Photograph: Diana Vergara).

Diversity of functional trade-offs enhances survival after fire in Neotropical savanna species

  • Pages: 139-150
  • First Published: 08 October 2019
Description unavailable

In the Brazilian Cerrado, trees have developed distinct strategies to survive and recover after fire, by differently investing in bark structural traits and growth. Low bud protection is associated with a higher mortality risk, while species with highly protected buds promptly recover, resprouting both from the canopy and the base.

Plant community assembly along a natural metal gradient in central Africa: Functional and phylogenetic approach

  • Pages: 151-161
  • First Published: 18 October 2019
Description unavailable

Variation in functional and phylogenetic diversity was explored along a natural soil copper gradient. On metal-poor soil, we found niche partitioning resulting from competition. On metal-rich soils, the community showed convergence to a syndrome of fast resource capture and small stature despite phylogenetic overdispersion. In contrast, widely divergent metal tolerance strategies coexist at high copper levels.

Trait divergence of woody species in relation to affinity for termite mounds in Upper Katanga (DR Congo)

  • Pages: 162-172
  • First Published: 13 November 2019
Description unavailable

In the dry tropical woodlands of DR Congo, 90% of woody species are narrow-niched, restricted either to Macrotermes termite mounds (T) or to the surrounding matrix (NT). T species have larger SLA, and larger foliar concentrations of specific nutrients compared to NT species. Intraspecific variation in a broad-niched species shows the same pattern, though with a smaller amplitude.

Nutrient deposition on Arctic fox dens creates atypical tundra plant assemblages at the edge of the Arctic

  • Pages: 173-179
  • First Published: 16 October 2019
Description unavailable

Tundra heath communities are mainly composed of stress-tolerant prostrate shrubs. Arctic fox denning in these habitats increases soil nutrient availability and disturbance, resulting a unique assemblage of vegetation including tall shrubs, grasses and forbs, thus increasing the diversity of the area. Image: Arctic fox pup on den. Image credit: Jackie Verstege.

Consistent spatial patterns across several plant communities within a region indicate that the same processes may be acting on Andean deserts and semideserts

  • Pages: 180-193
  • First Published: 09 October 2019
Description unavailable

Our results confirm that different locations in the semiarid Andes exhibit similar patterns of organization. This indicates that the same processes drive the dynamics of the semiarid Andes and, possibly, of the dry Andes as a whole. Plant–plant interactions seem to be responsible for this, as indicated by characteristic spatial patterns found in the study sites.

Distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns of plant communities on acid and limestone soils in subtropical and tropical China

  • Pages: 194-207
  • First Published: 08 October 2019
Description unavailable

We identified distinct vegetation types on both soil types based on hierarchical clustering and ordination. The typical vegetation on acid soils is evergreen broad-leaved forests characterized by Castanopsis species, while typical vegetation on limestone soils is mixed evergreen and deciduous forests characterized by a high proportion of deciduous trees and calciphytes. This study highlights the importance of soil in shaping community structure at a regional scale.

Free to Read

Phytosociological data and herbarium collections show congruent large-scale patterns but differ in their local descriptions of community composition

  • Pages: 208-219
  • First Published: 09 October 2019
Description unavailable

By comparing different sources of vegetation data, we could have a better understanding of diversity patterns. In this study, we analyze herbarium and phytosociological data from the páramos of Colombia, in order to discuss the circumstances under which it could be advantageous to combine data sets, in particular in relation to conservation issues.

LIST OF REFEREES

List of Referees

  • Pages: 220-222
  • First Published: 17 January 2020