Event Website

http://www.nafew2009.org/

Start Date

22-6-2009 2:50 PM

End Date

22-6-2009 3:10 PM

Description

Amount, spatial distribution, and species composition of understory plant communities have been shown to respond to changes in overstory structure. While response of the amount and composition of understory vegetation to thinning has been investigated in several ecosystems, spatial distributions have received less attention. We investigated spatial statistical techniques to examine associations of patch size of clonal shrubs and annual ruderals as they relate to overstory conditions after thinnings. We assessed the interpretation of empirical semivariograms in describing spatial pattern and whether semivariogram parameters can be useful when comparing impacts of different thinning regimes. We simulated vegetation patterns to test the ability of empirical semivariograms to describe patch sizes and suggest a nonparametric semivariogram range parameter as a metric of patch size. We applied results from the simulations to data from a long-term thinning study, in which intensity and spatial patterns of thinnings varied. We used range parameters from semivariograms of percent cover to compare response of patch sizes among thinning treatments and life forms. Initial results indicated that empirical semivariograms quantified both patch sizes and distance between patches. Nonparametric semivariogram estimates of patch size showed differences among thinning treatments, suggesting that spatial patterns of overstory conditions are influencing spatial distributions of understory vegetation. Patches of selected clonal shrubs were smallest in the treatment with spatially variable thinnings. Overall patch size of clonal shrubs was less strongly associated with thinning treatments than patch size of annual ruderals, likely reflecting differences in mobility between species that mainly regenerate by sprouting versus seeds. We conclude that spatial pattern of understory vegetation is responsive to thinning treatments and empirical semivariograms can provide useful information for developing silvicultural prescriptions.

 
Jun 22nd, 2:50 PM Jun 22nd, 3:10 PM

Spatial Patterns in Forest Understories: Relationships to Overstory Thinning Intensity and Understory Plant Diversity

Amount, spatial distribution, and species composition of understory plant communities have been shown to respond to changes in overstory structure. While response of the amount and composition of understory vegetation to thinning has been investigated in several ecosystems, spatial distributions have received less attention. We investigated spatial statistical techniques to examine associations of patch size of clonal shrubs and annual ruderals as they relate to overstory conditions after thinnings. We assessed the interpretation of empirical semivariograms in describing spatial pattern and whether semivariogram parameters can be useful when comparing impacts of different thinning regimes. We simulated vegetation patterns to test the ability of empirical semivariograms to describe patch sizes and suggest a nonparametric semivariogram range parameter as a metric of patch size. We applied results from the simulations to data from a long-term thinning study, in which intensity and spatial patterns of thinnings varied. We used range parameters from semivariograms of percent cover to compare response of patch sizes among thinning treatments and life forms. Initial results indicated that empirical semivariograms quantified both patch sizes and distance between patches. Nonparametric semivariogram estimates of patch size showed differences among thinning treatments, suggesting that spatial patterns of overstory conditions are influencing spatial distributions of understory vegetation. Patches of selected clonal shrubs were smallest in the treatment with spatially variable thinnings. Overall patch size of clonal shrubs was less strongly associated with thinning treatments than patch size of annual ruderals, likely reflecting differences in mobility between species that mainly regenerate by sprouting versus seeds. We conclude that spatial pattern of understory vegetation is responsive to thinning treatments and empirical semivariograms can provide useful information for developing silvicultural prescriptions.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nafecology/sessions/silviculture/9