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Open AccessArticle

Disturbance History and Dynamics of an Old-Growth Nothofagus Forest in Southern Patagonia

1
Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Instituto de Investigaciones en Recursos Naturales, Agroecología y Desarrollo Rural, Mitre 630, San Carlos de Bariloche CP 8400, Argentina
2
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Instituto de Investigaciones en Recursos Naturales, Agroecología y Desarrollo Rural, Av. de los Pioneros 2350, San Carlos de Bariloche CP 8400, Argentina
3
Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Bernardo Houssay 200, Ushuaia V9410, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010101
Received: 3 December 2019 / Revised: 7 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Dynamics and Its Applications)
The identification of disturbance events using disturbance chronologies has become a valuable tool in reconstructing disturbance history in temperate forests worldwide; yet detailed reconstructions of disturbance history and their effect on the structure and dynamics of the old-growth Nothofagus forests in the southern Patagonia are scarce. We reconstructed forest dynamics and disturbance history of an old-growth N. pumilio forest in the Toro River Valley, Santa Cruz, Argentina using dendroecological techniques. Since a variation in the disturbance regimes was expected with changing elevation, we sampled at different elevations. We found distinct differences in forest structure, dynamics, and disturbance history with changes in the elevation. The disturbance chronologies provided robust evidence that forests in the study area have been subjected to multiple disturbance events over the last 200 years. Yet, recognizing the agent of disturbance could be difficult in these montane forests and further studies are required. Moreover, disturbances might have varied from frequent, moderate- to high-severity events to less frequent and more severe events. This study represents the first of its kind for the temperate forests of Patagonia.
Keywords: forest structure; disturbance history; dendroecology; old-growth; Nothofagus pumilio forest structure; disturbance history; dendroecology; old-growth; Nothofagus pumilio
MDPI and ACS Style

Amoroso, M.M.; Blazina, A.P. Disturbance History and Dynamics of an Old-Growth Nothofagus Forest in Southern Patagonia. Forests 2020, 11, 101.

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