Patterns of Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) Establishment in Wiregrass (Aristida beyrichiana) Understories.

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Date: Oct. 2019
From: The American Midland Naturalist(Vol. 182, Issue 2)
Publisher: University of Notre Dame, Department of Biological Sciences
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,814 words
Lexile Measure: 1350L

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Abstract :

Ecosystem community structure and function is shaped in part by intra- and inter-specific interactions among plants. Facilitalive interactions, wherein one plant benefits another's fitness, can strongly influence plant community dynamics. We investigated the potential of an endemic, perennial bunchgrass, wiregrass (Aristida beyrichiana), to function as a nurse plant for longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) seedlings in fire-maintained pine savannas of the southeastern U.S.A. We documented significant!)' more pine seedlings growing close to established wiregrass bunchgrasses in a site burned one year prior to sampling. Pine seedlings growing close to wiregrass were also significantly taller than those growing further away. This positive spatial association between wiregrass and pine seedlings suggests that wiregrass facilitates early longleaf pine establishment in flatwoods environments, at least within the first year after fire.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A605414963