Assessing patterns in longleaf pine community structure across natural communities in Florida

Authors: Nicole Zampieri*, Department of Geography at Florida State University, Stephanie Pau, Geography, Florida State University
Topics: Biogeography, Physical Geography, Landscape
Keywords: biogeography, dendroecology, population dynamics, tree density, pinus palustris, savanna, fire ecology
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Increasing our understanding of community dynamics within endangered global biodiversity hotspots (GBH) is essential to better conserve these habitats. The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem, found within the North American Coastal Plain (NACP) GBH, i5 dominant natural community types within Florida. These communities differ in their substrate, hydrology, fire regime, community composition, and canopy structure. The structure and growth of longleaf pines in the different community types depends on the unique interactions between these abiotic and biotic components. Existing demographic and structural assessments of longleaf pine forests have largely focused on old-growth sites, which are important, but are not representative of the greater range of longleaf pine which is second growth. In this study, we investigate the patterns in longleaf pine forest structure (density, size structure, age distribution, and recruitment) and how growth (using basal area increment) differ across all 5 natural community types at 22 second-growth reference sites using field surveys of demographic data, tree cores, climate, and species composition data. Clearly identifying structural components and what influences growth within these second-growth reference sites will aid in refining conservation and restoration goals. In addition, these secondary forests should be described and recognized as significant sites for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Lastly, understanding what conditions lead to the patterns of growth within and across trees, along a latitudinal gradient, and across natural communities will advance our understanding of the species vulnerability and resilience to climate cha

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