Vegetation variation among mesic successional forest stands in northern lower Michigan

TitleVegetation variation among mesic successional forest stands in northern lower Michigan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsRoberts MRichard, Christensen NL
JournalCanadian Journal of Botany

Vegetation composition of the shrub-tree and herb layers was sampled in 70 successional aspen (Populus tremuloides and Populus grandidentata) stands of different ages (1-90) years on a variety of sites in northern lower Michigan. Physical and chemical characteristics of soil profiles were also measured at each site. Three stand groupings were identified based on site conditions and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) ordination of the vegetation. Sandy dry-mesic soils support forests of Acer rubrum, Quercus rubra, Pinus resinosa, and Pinus strobus. On lowland sandy soils with a fluctuating water table, Pinus strobus, Abies balsamea, Viburnum lentago, and Viburnum cassinoides are important. Mesic soils with stratified calcareous layers or clay till substrates support Acer saccharum, Fagus grandifolia, Tilia americana, Fraxinum americana, Ostrya virginiana, and Acer pensylvanicum. Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) was used to compare DCA scores with soil variables; first-axis DCA scores were correlated with a suite of soil variables and stand age was correlated with second or third DCA axis scores. Separate DCA ordinations of the dry-mesic and mesic groups revelaed successional relations on these sites. On dry-mesic sites, Pinus resinosa and Pinus strobus increase in importance with stand age, while Prunus serotina, Prunus virginiana, Prunus pensylvanica, and the aspens decrease. On mesic sites, early successional species include the aspens, Corylus cornuta, Prunus serotina, and Prunus pensylvanica. Fagus grandifolia, Acer pensylvanicum, Quercus rubra, Viburnum acerifolium, Betula papyrifera, Acer rubrum, and Tilia americana are more abundant in mature mesic-site stands. Ordinations of the herb data were remarkably similar to those for trees and shrubs except on dry-mesic sites. Much of the residual variability in vegetation not accounted for by site conditions and stand age is probably related to historical factors such as the nature of disturbance and variations in seed rain.