eMonocot Cyperaceae

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The seed bank in an old-growth, temperate deciduous forest

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:Leckie, S., Vellend, M., Bell, G., Waterway, M. J., Lechowicz M. J.
Journal:Canadian Journal of Botany-Revue Canadienne De Botanique
Keywords:buried seed, colonization dynamics, dependence, disturbance, fagus-grandifolia, habitat diversity, old-growth forest, populations, primary forest, regeneration, seed bank, seed dispersal, size, soil, temperate deciduous forest, viable seed

We assessed the size and composition of the seed bank in 31 plots representing a range of habitats within an old-growth, temperate deciduous forest at Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada. We identified 49 taxa in the seed bank, with an average of 40 species.m(-2) and a median density of 1218 seeds.m(-2). The most frequent seeds were species of Carex and Rubus, Diervilla lonicera, and Eupatorium rugosum, while seeds of Carex were the most numerous overall. Of the 12 species in the seed bank not found in the forest, 11 were found growing on the developed landscape surrounding this 10-km(2) forest fragment. These nonforest species were numerically only a minor component of the forest seed bank. Vernal herbs were not in the seed bank, and there were only a few tree species. Variation in seed bank richness among habitats was correlated positively with canopy cover, soil moisture, and soil nutrients, but not with the seed bank density or total number of species in the aboveground vegetation. Seed bank density increased with plot soil moisture. Woody species predominated in the seed bank of plots with richer soils, deeper litter, and more closed canopies. Herbaceous species predominated in the seed bank of plots with more open canopies, more mesic water regimes, and greater species richness in the aboveground vegetation. Contrary to earlier results suggesting forest seed banks primarily include shade-intolerant species associated with canopy disturbance or secondary succession, the seed bank in this old-growth, primary forest contains many shade-tolerant forest species.

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