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Recruitment and facilitation in Pinus hartwegii, a Mexican alpine treeline ecotone, with potential responses to climate warming / Claudia C. Astudillo-Sánchez; Mike Fowler; José Villanueva-Díaz; Angel R. Endara-Agramont; Leroy Soria-Díaz
Swansea University Author: Mike, Fowler
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Alpine treelines in Mexico are represented by high-elevation forests dominated by P. hartwegii Ldl. To address the degree to which the presence of suitable microsite facilitators are factors for successful recruitment within the treeline ecotone of P. hartwegii and modulate their responses to climat...
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Alpine treelines in Mexico are represented by high-elevation forests dominated by P. hartwegii Ldl. To address the degree to which the presence of suitable microsite facilitators are factors for successful recruitment within the treeline ecotone of P. hartwegii and modulate their responses to climate warming, year of natural tree establishment, number of trees recruited, and the presence of shelter elements at different exposures of Monte Tlaloc (in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic System) were recorded. For tree recruitment and microsite facilitation we recorded each tree and the type of potentially protective elements that may improve microsite conditions within a total of 32 circular plots (r = 18 m) in the alpine treeline ecotone (above 4000 m). Temperatures for Monte Tlaloc at 4000 m were estimated using the thermal gradient for the study area, and standard dendrochronological methods and a regression model were used to date tree recruitment. Vector generalized linear models show that maximum growing season temperatures have significantly influenced the temporal pattern of tree recruitment in this system over the past 50 years, but this influence was mediated by the presence (or absence) of specific shelter elements (shrubs, soil depressions, rocks or bare soil) within a specific treeline ecotone exposure, also shaping the spatial pattern of tree recruitment. The response of the treeline ecotone to climate warming at local scales is qualitatively modified by the presence of microscale features, requiring sufficient soil moisture to be available on the site of recruitment.
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