A review of precipitation and temperature control on seedling emergence and establishment for ponderosa and lodgepole pine forest regeneration

Forest Ecology and Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

The persistence of ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine forests in the 21st century depends to a large extent on how seedling emergence and establishment are influenced by driving climate and environmental variables, which largely govern forest regeneration. We surveyed the literature, and identified 96 publications that reported data on dependent variables of seedling emergence and/or establishment and one or more independent variables of air temperature, soil temperature, precipitation and moisture availability. Our review suggests that seedling emergence and establishment for both species is highest at intermediate temperatures (20 to 25 °C), and higher precipitation and higher moisture availability support a higher percentage of seedling emergence and establishment at daily, monthly and annual timescales. We found that ponderosa pine seedlings may be more sensitive to temperature fluctuations whereas lodgepole pine seedlings may be more sensitive to moisture fluctuations. In a changing climate, increasing temperatures and declining moisture availability may hinder forest persistence by limiting seedling processes. Yet, only 23 studies in our review investigated the effects of driving climate and environmental variables directly. Furthermore, 74 studies occurred in a laboratory or greenhouse, which do not often replicate the conditions experienced by tree seedlings in a field setting. It is therefore difficult to provide strong conclusions on how sensitive emergence and establishment in ponderosa and lodgepole pine are to these specific driving variables, or to investigate their potential aggregate effects. Thus, the effects of many driving variables on seedling processes remain largely inconclusive. Our review stresses the need for additional field and laboratory studies to better elucidate the effects of driving climate and environmental variables on seedling emergence and establishment for ponderosa and lodgepole pine.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A review of precipitation and temperature control on seedling emergence and establishment for ponderosa and lodgepole pine forest regeneration
Series title Forest Ecology and Management
DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.11.028
Volume 361
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 328
Last page 338
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N