The University of Arizona

Herbaceous response to canopy removal in southwestern oak woodlands.

G.R. Mcpherson, J.F. Weltzin

Abstract


An understanding of overstory-understory relationships in southwestern oak woodlands is important for predicting response of these systems to disturbance or manipulation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the response of herbaceous plants to removal of the overstory in evergreen oak woodlands. Overstory plants were removed from 30 X 30 m plots in January 1993 and January 1994, and the response of herbaceous plants in these plots was compared to untreated controls for 5 and 4 years, respectively. The C4 graminoid and total biomass increased after overstory removal to as much as 10 times greater than controls, remained at elevated levels the second year, declined in subsequent years to 3-7 times the production of controls, and increased slightly during the final year of the study (1997). Overstory removal was necessary but not sufficient to affect herbaceous dicot biomass, which increased relative to controls during years with above-average winter precipitation. The C3 graminoids did not respond to overstory removal.

Keywords


Quercus emoryi;Magnoliopsida;c4 grasses;c3 grasses;understory;woodland grasslands;rain;Poaceae;biomass;canopy;grasses;Arizona

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