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Patterns of forest vegetation responses to edge effect as revealed by a continuous approach

Alignier, Audrey and Deconchat, Marc Patterns of forest vegetation responses to edge effect as revealed by a continuous approach. (2013) Annals of Forest Science, 70 (6). 601-609. ISSN 1286-4560

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13595-013-0301-0

Abstract

Context: Understanding the variability of vegetation distribution and its determinants is a central issue for addressing the effects of edges on ecological processes. Recent studies have revealed inconsistencies in the patterns of responses to edge effects that raise important questions about their determinants. We investigated the edge effect response patterns by adapting a recently proposed continuous approach to the case of small forest fragments in southwestern France. Methods: We surveyed forest understory vegetation (composition, species richness, and percent cover) and abiotic variables (soil temperature, moisture, pH, and canopy openness) along 28 transects across hard forest edges. We tested five statistical models to describe the response pattern of each variable (1) over all transects and (2) per transect. We then compared the response patterns as a function of the attributes of the edge (orientation, topography, and adjacent land cover) and forest patch size. Results: Over all transects, a general decreasing trend was observed for all variables as the distance from the edge increased. In the individual transects, we evidenced a large variability in the response patterns that was not related to edge attributes or to patch size. Conclusion: It is difficult to assess the depth of edge influence in highly fragmented forests and to identify the determinants of edge effects. We recommend that care should be taken with studies using pool of transects, and that further studies should be carried out including situations with neutral patterns, in order to gain a broader understanding of edge effects on vegetation.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Springer Verlag editor. The definitive version is available at http://link.springer.com/ The original PDF of the article can be found at Annals of Forest Science website : http://link.springer.com/journal/13595
ProdINRA Id:202688
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Funders:
French Ministry of Research and Education
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Deposited By: INRA INRA
Deposited On:26 Oct 2016 11:18

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