Information about how different tree species reproduce is chief among the needs for managing forests in ways that sustain them and the people who rely upon them. Different tree species have different reproductive strate gies. Some species sprout from existing root systems, others rely on birds and other animals to disperse their seeds, still others evolve seed dispersal strategies that require fire, wind, or some other disturbance. The differ ent strategies confer different abilities to establish and grow in a particular set of conditions. Trees that repro duce vegetatively can have an advantage over trees that reproduce via seed on flooded or burned sites. In contrast, seeds that remain viable in soil over decades can ensure survival of early colonizers that get shaded out during long intervals without disturbance. Species life histories offer clues to the conditions under which different trees evolved and provide guidance for managing forests to favor some species over others. Soil conditions, including structure and fertility, are vital for seedling establishment and growth.
Was this article helpful?