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Spatial and temporal patterns of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) regeneration in West Carpathian subalpine spruce forest

Abstract

Non-random seed shadows are commonly seen in plant species whose seeds are dispersed by animals, in particular by birds. The behaviour of birds can influence the spatial pattern of seed dispersal and, consequently, the entire regeneration process of fleshy-fruited trees. This study examined regeneration patterns in a fleshy-fruited tree species, rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), growing in West Carpathian subalpine spruce forests, focussing on two problems: the temporal relationship between rowan regeneration and gap formation, and the spatial relationship between rowan regeneration and stand structure. It was found that rowan seedlings and saplings were recruited in advance of gap formation. Establishment of new rowan individuals in gaps was infrequent, but gaps enhanced their regeneration nearby under spruce canopy, where they occurred densely in a narrow belt about 15 m wide. Inside spruce stands, the highest density of young rowans was directly under crowns, especially near trunk bases. Few rowan saplings were found growing under mature rowan trees. The presence of a rowan seedling and sapling bank determines whether rowans fill spruce stand gaps. Dense rowan groves can develop mainly in extensive but slowly expanding gaps.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Jan Holeksa for encouragement, helpful discussions and valuable suggestions during the preparation of the manuscript. This study was funded by the Polish State Committee for Scientific Research (grant no. 3P04G11125).

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Correspondence to Magdalena Żywiec.

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Żywiec, M., Ledwoń, M. Spatial and temporal patterns of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) regeneration in West Carpathian subalpine spruce forest. Plant Ecol 194, 283–291 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-007-9291-z

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Keywords

  • Dispersal limitations
  • Fleshy-fruited tree
  • Gap regeneration
  • Seedling bank