Determining abiotic and biotic factors that limit transplanted nothofagus pumilio seedling success in abandoned beaver meadows in Tierra del Fuego

Authors
Henn, Jonathan J.; Anderson, Christopher Brian; Kreps, Gaston; Lencinas, María Vanessa; Soler Esteban, Rosina Matilde; Martínez Pastur, Guillermo José
Publication Year
2014
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
As ecosystem engineers, North American beavers (Castor canadensis) change many environmental conditions in watersheds, felling trees, damming streams, and flooding riparian zones. In Tierra del Fuego, where beavers were introduced in 1946, these alterations have produced meadows that appear to be long-term alternate stable states, lacking signs of resilience and natural forest regeneration. The aim of this work was to determine the abiotic and biotic factors that affect native tree seedling success in abandoned beaver meadows in Nothofagus pumilio forests. Environmental conditions including light, soil moisture, herbaceous plant community composition, and reinvasion potential were measured in areas impacted by beavers and in unimpacted old-growth forests. Additionally, we monitored the survival and success of N. pumilio seedlings transplanted in plots where meadow vegetation was cleared. Tree seedlings showed little growth, and survival varied by type of beaver impact. While survival was high and similar to unimpacted sites in zones cut but not flooded by beavers, it was significantly lower in meadow zones that were previously flooded and cut, compared to old-growth forests. We found that the reinvasion of herbaceous plants into transplantation study plots was negatively related to tree seedling survival, and herbaceous (monocot) plant cover itself was related to beaver-created gradients in soil moisture and light availability. Overall, these abiotic changes modified the meadow's plant community and enhanced herbaceous vegetation cover, particularly monocots and exotics, thus hindering transplanted seedling survival.
Fil: Henn, Jonathan J.. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas; Argentina
Fil: Anderson, Christopher Brian. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas; Argentina
Fil: Kreps, Gaston. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas; Argentina
Fil: Lencinas, María Vanessa. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas; Argentina
Fil: Soler Esteban, Rosina Matilde. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas; Argentina
Fil: Martínez Pastur, Guillermo José. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas; Argentina
Subject
ACTIVE RESTORATION
CASTOR CANADENSIS
ECOSYSTEM ENGINEER
REFORESTATION
SOUTHERN PATAGONIA
Agricultura
Agricultura, Silvicultura y Pesca
CIENCIAS AGRÍCOLAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/57789