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Forests 2015, 6(4), 1083-1093; doi:10.3390/f6041083

Aboveground Biomass of Glossy Buckthorn is Similar in Open and Understory Environments but Architectural Strategy Differs

1
Department of Biology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
2
Fiducie de recherche sur la forêt des Cantons-de-l'Est/Eastern Townships Forest Research Trust, 1 rue Principale, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, QC J0B 2M0, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Shibu Jose and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 12 February 2015 / Revised: 16 March 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exotic and Invasive Plant Species Impacting Forests)
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Abstract

The exotic shrub glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is a great concern among forest managers because it invades both open and shaded environments. To evaluate if buckthorn grows similarly across light environments, and if adopting different shapes contributes to an efficient use of light, we compared buckthorns growing in an open field and in the understory of a mature hybrid poplar plantation. For a given age, the relationships describing aboveground biomass of buckthorns in the open field and in the plantation were not significantly different. However, we observed a significant difference between the diameter-height relationships in the two environments. These results suggest a change in buckthorn’s architecture, depending on the light environment in which it grows. Buckthorn adopts either an arborescent shape under a tree canopy, or a shrubby shape in an open field, to optimally capture the light available. This architectural plasticity helps explain a similar invasion success for glossy buckthorn growing in both open and shaded environments, at least up to the canopy closure level of the plantation used for this study. View Full-Text
Keywords: Frangula alnus; plasticity; invasive species; southern Québec (Canada); biomass equation; light availability Frangula alnus; plasticity; invasive species; southern Québec (Canada); biomass equation; light availability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hamelin, C.; Gagnon, D.; Truax, B. Aboveground Biomass of Glossy Buckthorn is Similar in Open and Understory Environments but Architectural Strategy Differs. Forests 2015, 6, 1083-1093.

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