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Indirect effects of land-use legacies determine tree colonization patterns in abandoned heathland

(2015) APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE. 18(3). p.456-466
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Abstract
Questions: How do land-use legacies and distance to forest patches influence tree colonization at a post-agricultural heathland? Are colonizing species with different life-history traits affected differently by these factors? Is the effect of increased nutrient availability from land-use legacies mediated by the understorey vegetation? Location: NOrholm hede, a 350-ha heathland in southwest Denmark developing naturally after abandonment of traditional agricultural practices in 1895. Methods: Using 140 plots (0.03ha), we quantified the vegetation structure, soil properties and natural recruitment of tree/shrubs in the heathland. Further, we used high-resolution LiDAR data to classify the vegetation and identify forest patches. In the analysis, we first used a logistic mixed model to test whether colonization of tree and shrub species differed between areas with different land-use history and whether it was influenced by the distance to forest patches and life-history traits (seed mass) of colonizing species. Then, to determine how different factors influence colonization, we explored the direct and indirect relationships among nutrient availability, density of adult trees, canopy cover, cover of Deschampsia flexuosa and the probability of seedling colonization in each plot using a confirmatory multilevel path analysis. Results: The probability of seedling colonization for small- and large-seeded species decreased with distance to forest patches. This response was more pronounced at the previously cultivated area. Multilevel path analysis showed that colonizing species with different life-history traits were affected by different factors. Small-seeded species were negatively affected by increased nutrient availability mediated by an increase in the cover of D.flexuosa. This effect was not found for large-seeded species. Moreover, the density of trees/shrubs (>2m) increased the probability of colonization of small-seeded species, whereas higher canopy cover had a positive effect on large-seeded species. Conclusions: Our analyses demonstrate that the interactions between abiotic factors, biotic interactions and life-history traits of colonizing species can lead to distinct patterns of tree colonization. Land-use legacies can have long-lasting, indirect effects on tree colonization by altering the composition of the understorey vegetation, which in turn can delay tree encroachment and slow down the succession from heathland to forest.
Keywords
Deschampsia flexuosa, Canopy cover, d-separation, Forest succession, Multifactorial path analysis, Nutrient availability, Phosphorus, Seed mass, Seedling, EARLY SUCCESSIONAL COMMUNITIES, WOODY PLANT INVASION, LONG-TERM, LOWLAND HEATH, USE HISTORY, DESCHAMPSIA-FLEXUOSA, PATH MODELS, SEED-SIZE, COMPETITION, FOREST

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Kepfer-Rojas, Sebastian et al. “Indirect Effects of Land-use Legacies Determine Tree Colonization Patterns in Abandoned Heathland.” APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE 18.3 (2015): 456–466. Print.
APA
Kepfer-Rojas, Sebastian, Verheyen, K., Johannsen, V. K., & Schmidt, I. K. (2015). Indirect effects of land-use legacies determine tree colonization patterns in abandoned heathland. APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE, 18(3), 456–466.
Chicago author-date
Kepfer-Rojas, Sebastian, Kris Verheyen, Vivian Kvist Johannsen, and Inger Kappel Schmidt. 2015. “Indirect Effects of Land-use Legacies Determine Tree Colonization Patterns in Abandoned Heathland.” Applied Vegetation Science 18 (3): 456–466.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Kepfer-Rojas, Sebastian, Kris Verheyen, Vivian Kvist Johannsen, and Inger Kappel Schmidt. 2015. “Indirect Effects of Land-use Legacies Determine Tree Colonization Patterns in Abandoned Heathland.” Applied Vegetation Science 18 (3): 456–466.
Vancouver
1.
Kepfer-Rojas S, Verheyen K, Johannsen VK, Schmidt IK. Indirect effects of land-use legacies determine tree colonization patterns in abandoned heathland. APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE. 2015;18(3):456–66.
IEEE
[1]
S. Kepfer-Rojas, K. Verheyen, V. K. Johannsen, and I. K. Schmidt, “Indirect effects of land-use legacies determine tree colonization patterns in abandoned heathland,” APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 456–466, 2015.
@article{7160647,
  abstract     = {Questions: How do land-use legacies and distance to forest patches influence tree colonization at a post-agricultural heathland? Are colonizing species with different life-history traits affected differently by these factors? Is the effect of increased nutrient availability from land-use legacies mediated by the understorey vegetation? 
Location: NOrholm hede, a 350-ha heathland in southwest Denmark developing naturally after abandonment of traditional agricultural practices in 1895. 
Methods: Using 140 plots (0.03ha), we quantified the vegetation structure, soil properties and natural recruitment of tree/shrubs in the heathland. Further, we used high-resolution LiDAR data to classify the vegetation and identify forest patches. In the analysis, we first used a logistic mixed model to test whether colonization of tree and shrub species differed between areas with different land-use history and whether it was influenced by the distance to forest patches and life-history traits (seed mass) of colonizing species. Then, to determine how different factors influence colonization, we explored the direct and indirect relationships among nutrient availability, density of adult trees, canopy cover, cover of Deschampsia flexuosa and the probability of seedling colonization in each plot using a confirmatory multilevel path analysis. 
Results: The probability of seedling colonization for small- and large-seeded species decreased with distance to forest patches. This response was more pronounced at the previously cultivated area. Multilevel path analysis showed that colonizing species with different life-history traits were affected by different factors. Small-seeded species were negatively affected by increased nutrient availability mediated by an increase in the cover of D.flexuosa. This effect was not found for large-seeded species. Moreover, the density of trees/shrubs (>2m) increased the probability of colonization of small-seeded species, whereas higher canopy cover had a positive effect on large-seeded species. 
Conclusions: Our analyses demonstrate that the interactions between abiotic factors, biotic interactions and life-history traits of colonizing species can lead to distinct patterns of tree colonization. Land-use legacies can have long-lasting, indirect effects on tree colonization by altering the composition of the understorey vegetation, which in turn can delay tree encroachment and slow down the succession from heathland to forest.},
  author       = {Kepfer-Rojas, Sebastian and Verheyen, Kris and Johannsen, Vivian Kvist and Schmidt, Inger Kappel},
  issn         = {1402-2001},
  journal      = {APPLIED VEGETATION SCIENCE},
  keywords     = {Deschampsia flexuosa,Canopy cover,d-separation,Forest succession,Multifactorial path analysis,Nutrient availability,Phosphorus,Seed mass,Seedling,EARLY SUCCESSIONAL COMMUNITIES,WOODY PLANT INVASION,LONG-TERM,LOWLAND HEATH,USE HISTORY,DESCHAMPSIA-FLEXUOSA,PATH MODELS,SEED-SIZE,COMPETITION,FOREST},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {456--466},
  title        = {Indirect effects of land-use legacies determine tree colonization patterns in abandoned heathland},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/avsc.12169},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2015},
}

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