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Forests 2017, 8(10), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100356

Population Spatial Dynamics of Larix potaninii in Alpine Treeline Ecotone in the Eastern Margin of the Tibetan Plateau, China

1
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, College of Architecture and Environment, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
2
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
3
School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 22 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treeline Ecotone Dynamics)
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Abstract

The high-altitude treeline is known to be sensitive to climate variability, and is thus considered as a bio-monitoring indicator of climate change. However, our understanding of the population dynamics and the cumulative climate-change effects on the alpine treeline ecotone in recent decades is limited. Here, we investigated the population dynamics of Larix potainii on the south- and north-facing slopes in the alpine treeline ecotone in the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, China, including treeline position, population density, and tree recruitment. Results showed that on both south- and north-facing slopes, the treeline did not show a significant advancement in the past four decades. The population was dominated by young individuals, which tend to be established in the lower areas. Larix, here, tends to be clustered, especially in the upper areas. However, population density increased dramatically only on north-facing slopes. Larix here suffer from the stressful environment, but the warmer winter due to climate warming could facilitate the vertical growth of seedlings and saplings. Aggregated spatial patterns also provide a positive feedback in ameliorating the harsh environment. The slope-climate-moisture interactions have a pronounced impact on tree recruitment, including snow-limited tree establishment on the north-facing slopes and moisture-limited tree establishment on the south-facing slopes. View Full-Text
Keywords: alpine treeline ecotone; climate change; population dynamics; Tibetan Plateau; treeline advance alpine treeline ecotone; climate change; population dynamics; Tibetan Plateau; treeline advance
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Cui, J.; Qin, J.; Sun, H. Population Spatial Dynamics of Larix potaninii in Alpine Treeline Ecotone in the Eastern Margin of the Tibetan Plateau, China. Forests 2017, 8, 356.

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