Understanding how tree distributions are constrained is a major conservation goal as changes in the environment threaten forests and ecosystems across the globe. Forest regeneration and seedling recruitment are key processes dictating species' responses to changing environments, as migration and adaptation are contingent upon these processes. In this study, I use Pinus edulis as a model species and explore environmental constraints on seedling recruitment using observational and experimental approaches. I examine P. edulis seedling recruitment at two spatial scales to evaluate the relevance of different environmental factors at different spatial scales. At the scale of the species range, I explore how climate factors constrain seedling recruitment by comparing patterns in occurrence between adult and juvenile trees. By developing a habitat suitability model based on seedling tree occurrence-climate relationships, I propose a simple but novel method for forecasting future distributions at the scale of the species range. At a smaller, local scale, I employ field observations and experimental manipulations to explore how soil heterogeneity in consort with climate influences regeneration in different ways, affecting seed germination, growth and root development. I discuss implications for long-term environmental tolerance in pinyon pines using these modeling and empirical approaches.
|Advisor:||Gehring, Catherine A., Whitham, Thomas G.|
|Commitee:||Whipple, Amy V.|
|School:||Northern Arizona University|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Climate change, Pinus edulis, Regeneration niche, Soil texture, Species distribution modeling|
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