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CitationAllen, E. A., & Nowak, R. S. (2008). Effect of pinyon–juniper tree cover on the soil seed bank. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 61(1), 63-73.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractAs pinyon-juniper (specifically, Pinus monophylla and Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands in the western United States increase in distribution and density, understory growth declines and the occurrence of crown fires increases, leaving mountainsides open to both soil erosion and invasion by exotic species. We examined if the loss in understory cover that occurred with increasing tree cover was reflected in the density and diversity of the seed bank. Seed banks in stands with low, medium, and high tree cover were measured in late October for 2 yr. Multivariate analyses indicated that cover and diversity of standing vegetation changed as tree cover increased. However, the seed bank did not differ in overall seed density or species diversity because seeds of the 13 species that comprised 86% of the seed bank occurred in similar density across the tree-cover groups. Sixty-three percent of the species that were in the seed bank were absent from the vegetation (mostly annual forbs). In addition, 49% of the species that occurred in the standing vegetation were not in the seed bank (mostly perennial forbs and shrubs). Only Artemisia tridentata, Bromus tectorum, and Collinsia parviflora displayed positive Spearman rank correlations between percent cover in the vegetation and density in the seed bank. Thus, much of the standing vegetation was not represented in the seed bank, and the few species that dominated the seed bank occurred across varying covers of pinyon-juniper.