Ecological consequences of a massive flowering event of bamboo (Chusquea culeou) in a temperate forest of Patagonia, Argentina

A. Marchesini Victoria, E. Sala Osvaldo, T. Austin Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Questions: What changes occur as a consequence of the massive flowering and senescence of the dominant unders- tory species of bamboo, Cliusquea culeoit (E. Desvaux)? In this study, we documented some of the ecological consequences of this rare event that occurred in 2001, the previous flowering having occurred more than 60 years ago. Nothofagus temperate forest, Patagonia, Argentina. We assessed changes in environmental variables and bamboo biomass post-flowering in an old-growth southern beech forest. In addition, we monitored the demography of emergent Ch. culeou seedling and Nothofagus nervosa saplings, comparing non-flowered (live understory) and flowered (senescent understory) patches within the forest matrix. Bamboo flowering dramatically increased light availability in the forest understory but, surprisingly, other environmental changes were not observed. Bamboo seedlings emerged in both patch types, and experienced gradual but modest mortality through time. Bamboo dieback promoted higher survivorship and an increment in biomass, height, number of leaves and buds in the saplings of Nothofagus nervosa. The high density of bamboo seedlings 5 years after the flowering event and the independence of emergence from environmental variables suggest that understory regeneration is a gradual process that is not strongly regulated by initial seedling density or resource limitation. In contrast, microenvironmental conditions created after the flowering event significantly increased Nothofagus sapling growth and survival. These results suggest that overstory forest regeneration could be enhanced in this temperate forest in the first years after this infrequent bamboo flowering event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bamboo flowering
  • Forest regeneration
  • Light availability
  • Nothofagus forest
  • Seedling demography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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