Shrinking windows of opportunity for oak seedling establishment in southern California mountains

Frank W. Davis, Lynn C. Sweet, Josep M. Serra-Diaz, Janet Franklin, Ian McCullough, Alan Flint, Lorraine Flint, John R. Dingman, Helen M. Regan, Alexandra D. Syphard, Lee Hannah, Kelly Redmond, Max A. Moritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Seedling establishment is a critical step that may ultimately govern tree species' distribution shifts under environmental change. Annual variation in the location of seed rain and microclimates results in transient "windows of opportunity" for tree seedling establishment across the landscape. These establishment windows vary at fine spatiotemporal scales that are not considered in most assessments of climate change impacts on tree species range dynamics and habitat displacement. We integrate field seedling establishment trials conducted in the southern Sierra Nevada and western Tehachapi Mountains of southern California with spatially downscaled grids of modeled water-year climatic water deficit (CWDwy) and mean August maximum daily temperature (Tmax) to map historical and projected future microclimates suitable for establishment windows of opportunity for Quercus douglasii, a dominant tree species of warm, dry foothill woodlands, and Q. kelloggii, a dominant of cooler, more mesic montane woodlands and forests. Based on quasi-binomial regression models, Q. douglasii seedling establishment is significantly associated with modeled CWDwy and to a lesser degree with modeled Tmax. Q. kelloggii seedling establishment is most strongly associated with Tmax and best predicted by a two-factor model including CWDwy and Tmax. Establishment niche models are applied to explore recruitment window dynamics in the western Tehachapi Mountains, where these species are currently widespread canopy dominants. Establishment windows are projected to decrease by 50-95%, shrinking locally to higher elevations and north-facing slopes by the end of this century depending on the species and climate scenario. These decreases in establishment windows suggest the potential for longer-term regional population declines of the species. While many additional processes regulate seedling establishment and growth, this study highlights the need to account for topoclimatic controls and interannual climatic variation when assessing how seedling establishment and colonization processes could be affected by climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01573
JournalEcosphere
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Fingerprint

seedling establishment
Quercus
mountains
mountain
seedlings
Quercus douglasii
microclimate
woodlands
woodland
Quercus kelloggii
climate change
seed rain
population decline
oak
coolers
annual variation
niche
environmental change
niches
colonization

Keywords

  • California
  • Climate change
  • Climatic water deficit
  • Microclimate
  • Quercus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Davis, F. W., Sweet, L. C., Serra-Diaz, J. M., Franklin, J., McCullough, I., Flint, A., ... Moritz, M. A. (2016). Shrinking windows of opportunity for oak seedling establishment in southern California mountains. Ecosphere, 7(11), [e01573]. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1573

Shrinking windows of opportunity for oak seedling establishment in southern California mountains. / Davis, Frank W.; Sweet, Lynn C.; Serra-Diaz, Josep M.; Franklin, Janet; McCullough, Ian; Flint, Alan; Flint, Lorraine; Dingman, John R.; Regan, Helen M.; Syphard, Alexandra D.; Hannah, Lee; Redmond, Kelly; Moritz, Max A.

In: Ecosphere, Vol. 7, No. 11, e01573, 01.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davis, FW, Sweet, LC, Serra-Diaz, JM, Franklin, J, McCullough, I, Flint, A, Flint, L, Dingman, JR, Regan, HM, Syphard, AD, Hannah, L, Redmond, K & Moritz, MA 2016, 'Shrinking windows of opportunity for oak seedling establishment in southern California mountains', Ecosphere, vol. 7, no. 11, e01573. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1573
Davis FW, Sweet LC, Serra-Diaz JM, Franklin J, McCullough I, Flint A et al. Shrinking windows of opportunity for oak seedling establishment in southern California mountains. Ecosphere. 2016 Nov 1;7(11). e01573. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1573
Davis, Frank W. ; Sweet, Lynn C. ; Serra-Diaz, Josep M. ; Franklin, Janet ; McCullough, Ian ; Flint, Alan ; Flint, Lorraine ; Dingman, John R. ; Regan, Helen M. ; Syphard, Alexandra D. ; Hannah, Lee ; Redmond, Kelly ; Moritz, Max A. / Shrinking windows of opportunity for oak seedling establishment in southern California mountains. In: Ecosphere. 2016 ; Vol. 7, No. 11.
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abstract = "Seedling establishment is a critical step that may ultimately govern tree species' distribution shifts under environmental change. Annual variation in the location of seed rain and microclimates results in transient {"}windows of opportunity{"} for tree seedling establishment across the landscape. These establishment windows vary at fine spatiotemporal scales that are not considered in most assessments of climate change impacts on tree species range dynamics and habitat displacement. We integrate field seedling establishment trials conducted in the southern Sierra Nevada and western Tehachapi Mountains of southern California with spatially downscaled grids of modeled water-year climatic water deficit (CWDwy) and mean August maximum daily temperature (Tmax) to map historical and projected future microclimates suitable for establishment windows of opportunity for Quercus douglasii, a dominant tree species of warm, dry foothill woodlands, and Q. kelloggii, a dominant of cooler, more mesic montane woodlands and forests. Based on quasi-binomial regression models, Q. douglasii seedling establishment is significantly associated with modeled CWDwy and to a lesser degree with modeled Tmax. Q. kelloggii seedling establishment is most strongly associated with Tmax and best predicted by a two-factor model including CWDwy and Tmax. Establishment niche models are applied to explore recruitment window dynamics in the western Tehachapi Mountains, where these species are currently widespread canopy dominants. Establishment windows are projected to decrease by 50-95{\%}, shrinking locally to higher elevations and north-facing slopes by the end of this century depending on the species and climate scenario. These decreases in establishment windows suggest the potential for longer-term regional population declines of the species. While many additional processes regulate seedling establishment and growth, this study highlights the need to account for topoclimatic controls and interannual climatic variation when assessing how seedling establishment and colonization processes could be affected by climate change.",
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