Vegetation composition, structure, and biomass of two unpolluted watersheds in the Cordillera de Piuchue, Chiloe Island, Chile
Research in pristine forests provides a necessary reference of energy and nutrient cycling in absence of anthropogenic influence. Therefore two unpolluted watersheds in the Cordillera de Piuchué of southern Chile (42°30? S) were chosen for detailed ecosystem analysis. The goals of this study were to quantify the distribution of the living biomass in the research watershed and to document topographic gradients in the vegetation. Across a small spatial gradient from ravine bottom to ridgetop (approximately 60 m in elevation and < 300 m in length) in the Cordillera de Piuchué watersheds, there were significant shifts in vegetation composition, structure, and biomass. Based on sampling in 18, 100 m2 plots, we identified three distinct community associations: a Fitzroya forest at the bottom of the watershed, a mid-slope Pilgerodendron-Tepualia transition zone, and a ridgetop moorland community. The Fitzroya forest was dominated by a cohort of approximately 400 year-old Fitzroya cupressoides trees. Both tree basal area (138 m2/ha) and total live biomass (656 Mg ha-1) reached a maximum in this vegetation type. The Pilgerodendron-Tepualia forest consisted of smaller, shorter, and younger trees with dominance shared by Pilgerodendron uviferum, Tepualia stipularis, and to a lesser extent, F. cupressoides. Basal area and biomass were half that of the Fitzroya forest (69.5 m2 ha-1; 350 Mg ha-1) but tree density was 65% greater. The moorland can best be described as an open community of mosses and cushion plants that included low stature individuals of P. uviferum, F. cupressoides, and T. stipularis. The size and age structure of F. cupressoides in the bottomland forest suggest that the current cohort of adult trees was established following a catastrophic disturbance and that F. cupressoides is unable to regenerate under its own canopy. In contrast, the size structure of the tree populations in the Pilgerodendron-Tepualia zone indicates that all the constituent tree species, except F. cupressoides, are able to reproduce at least at some microsites in the understory. The watershed-level means for live biomass were 306 Mg ha-1 of aboveground tree biomass, 25 Mg ha-1 of large root biomass (diameter ? 1 cm), and 46 Mg ha-1 of small root biomass (diameter < 1 cm).
|Título según WOS:||Vegetation composition, structure, and biomass of two unpolluted watersheds in the Cordillera de Piuchue, Chiloe Island, Chile|
|Título según SCOPUS:||Vegetation composition, structure, and biomass of two unpolluted watersheds in the Cordillera de Piuchué, Chiloé Island, Chile|
|Título de la Revista:||PLANT ECOLOGY|
|Fecha de publicación:||2002|
|Página de inicio:||5|