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Effects of past and present microclimates on northern and southern plant species in a managed forest landscape

Christiansen, D. M. ORCID:, Strydom, T. ORCID:, Greiser, C. ORCID:, McClory, R. ORCID:, Ehrlén, J. ORCID: and Hylander, K. ORCID: (2023) Effects of past and present microclimates on northern and southern plant species in a managed forest landscape. Journal of Vegetation Science, 34 (4). e13197. ISSN 1654-1103

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/jvs.13197


Questions: Near-ground temperatures can vary substantially over relatively short distances, enabling species with different temperature preferences and geographical distributions to co-exist within a small area. In a forest landscape, the near-ground temperatures may change due to management activities that alter forest density. As a result of such management activities, current species distributions and performances might not only be affected by current microclimates, but also by past conditions due to time-lagged responses. Location: Sweden. Methods: We examined the effects of past and current microclimates on the distributions and performances of two northern, cold-favoured, and two southern, warm-favoured, plant species in 53 managed forest sites. Each pair was represented by one vascular plant and one bryophyte species. We used temperature logger data and predictions from microclimate models based on changes in basal area to relate patterns of occurrence, abundance, and reproduction to current and past microclimate. Results: The two northern species were generally favoured by microclimates that were currently cold, characterised by later snowmelt and low accumulated heat over the growing season. In contrast, the two southern species were generally favoured by currently warm microclimates, characterised by high accumulated heat over the growing season. Species generally had higher abundance in sites with a preferred microclimate both in the past and present, and lower abundance than expected from current conditions, if the past microclimate had changed from warm to cold or vice versa, indicating time-lags in abundance patterns of the species. Conclusions: Our results show a potential importance of past and present microclimate heterogeneity for the co-existence of species with different temperature preferences in the same landscape and highlight the possibility to manage microclimates to mitigate climate change impacts on forest biodiversity.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:112719
Uncontrolled Keywords:Plant Science, Ecology


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