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Publication Date

Fall 10-9-2020

Publication Title



Piñon (Pinus spp. L.)–juniper (Juniperus spp. L.) woodlands’ historical stand structures were recreated to provide reference conditions and document long‐term changes in the Sky Islands of the Davis Mountains, Texas. Restoration of these isolated woodlands requires insights into the range of variability in current and historical stand structures, as well as an understanding of the spatiotemporal establishment and recruitment patterns of tree species. With drastic changes in forests and woodlands of the Southwestern United States widely reported, the main objective of this study was to reconstruct woodland tree temporal and spatial establishment patterns. A stratified random sampling approach was used to select two study sites each of 3600 m2 in area. Within each site, all individual trees were mapped, measured, and cored for age determination. Age and tree location data were used to recreate the spatiotemporal patterns of tree species establishment and recruitment. Increments in density of both Mexican piñon (Pinus cembroides var. cembroides Zucc.) and alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana var. deppeana Steud.) reached 422 trees ha−1 in the 115‐year period between 1890 and 2005; a yearly increment of 4 trees ha−1 that did not reflect a rapid rate of change in these piñon–juniper woodlands. Age distributions reflected the multi‐cohort nature of these woodlands, and spatial autocorrelation measures were useful in the objective delineation of these cohorts. Temporal and functional niche differentiation of juniper was reflected in the development pattern where alligator juniper served as a pioneer species, exhibited a longer period of substantial recruitment, and had greater recruitment rates than that of Mexican piñon. Recruitment of Mexican piñon and alligator juniper occurred in an episodic fashion, with the majority of recruits being acquired between 1890 and 1949.





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