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Secondary succession in an experimentally fragmented landscape: Community patterns across space and time

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Secondary succession reflects, at least in part, community assembly---the sequences of colonizations and extinctions. These processes in turn are expected to be sensitive to the size of the site undergoing assembly and its location relative to source pools. In this paper we describe patterns of succession over 18 years in an experimentally fragmented landscape created in eastern Kansas, USA, in 1984. The design of the experiment permits one to assess the influence of patch size and landscape position on successional dynamics. The general trajectory of succession follows that typical of succession in much of the eastern United States. In the initial years of the study, there was relatively little effect of patch size or distance to sources. Here we show that spatial effects in this system have become increasingly evident with time, as gauged both by repeated-measures ANOVA and ordination techniques. Woody plants have colonized more rapidly (per unit area) on large and nearby patches. Species richness at a local (within-quadrat) scale in general has increased, with slightly greater richness in large than in small patches later in the study. Temporal stability in community composition has generally been greater in large patches. Spatial heterogeneity in community composition has increased during succession, but with different patterns in large and small patches. This long-term experiment suggests that landscape structure influences many aspects of community structure and dynamics during succession, and that such effects become more pronounced with the passage of time.
Cook, W.M. , Yao, J. , Foster, B.L. , Holt, R.D. , Patrick, L.B.
Includes references
Ecology 2005 May, v. 86, no. 5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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