Native and exotic plant cover vary inversely along a climate gradient 11 years following stand-replacing wildfire in a dry coniferous forest, Oregon, USA Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/9c67ws414

This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., and can be found at:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291365-2486

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  • Community re-assembly following future disturbances will often occur under warmer and more moisture-limited conditions than when current communities assembled. Because the establishment stage is regularly the most sensitive to climate and competition, the trajectory of recovery from disturbance in a changing environment is uncertain, but has important consequences for future ecosystem functioning. To better understand how ongoing warming and rising moisture limitation may affect recovery, we studied native and exotic plant composition 11 years following complete stand-replacing wildfire in a dry coniferous forest spanning a large gradient in climatic moisture deficit (CMD) from warm and dry low elevation sites to relatively cool and moist higher elevations sites. We then projected future precipitation, temperature and CMD at our study locations for four scenarios selected to encompass a broad range of possible future conditions for the region. Native perennials dominated relatively cool and moist sites 11 years after wildfire, but were very sparse at the warmest and driest (high CMD) sites, particularly when combined with high topographic sun exposure. In contrast, exotic species (primarily annual grasses) were dominant or co-dominant at the warmest and driest sites, especially with high topographic sun exposure. All future scenarios projected increasing temperature and CMD in coming decades (e.g., from 4.5% to 29.5% higher CMD by the 2080’s compared to the 1971-2000 average), even in scenarios where growing season (May-September) precipitation increased. These results suggest increasing temperatures and moisture limitation could facilitate longer-term (over a decade) transitions toward exotic-dominated communities after severe wildfire when a suitable exotic seed source is present.
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  • Dodson, E. K., & Root, H. T. (2015). Native and exotic plant cover vary inversely along a climate gradient 11 years following stand-replacing wildfire in a dry coniferous forest, Oregon, USA. Global Change Biology, 21(2), 666–675. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12775
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