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    Conspecific negative density dependence in a long-lived conifer, yew Taxus baccata L.

    Devaney, John L. and Whelan, Pádraig M. and Jansen, Marcel A. K. (2018) Conspecific negative density dependence in a long-lived conifer, yew Taxus baccata L. European Journal of Forest Research, 137 (1). pp. 69-78. ISSN 1612-4669

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    Conspecific negative density dependence in tree species can have major consequences for structuring of communities, yet in temperate forests this phenomenon remains largely unexplored. We investigated density-dependent recruitment in the long-lived conifer yew (Taxus baccata L.), for which low levels of regeneration have been linked with reduced light availability beneath conspecific canopies and speculative autotoxic effects. We combined in situ assessment of yew regeneration in a temperate forest in southwest Ireland with ex situ pot experiments to assess whether light and/or beneath conspecific canopy conditions inhibit the germination and early growth of yew. In field experiments, recruitment was related to distance from adult conspecifics, with higher levels of regeneration found in areas not beneath yew canopies. However, reduced light availability beneath the dense yew canopy was not responsible for this pattern, with abundant seedlings found in areas of equivalent or even lower light availability. Pot experiments showed that seedling survival was highest in deep shade treatments. Experiments also demonstrated that the addition of yew needles negatively affected seedling growth, but not seed germination. Together, our results suggest that under natural forest conditions, the absence of regeneration beneath mature yew canopies, often attributed to low light availability, may at least be partly related to substances in yew canopy or leaf leachates.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Janzen–Connell; Negative plant–soil feedbacks; Natural regeneration; Autotoxicity;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 16185
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: John Devaney
    Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2022 15:44
    Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Forest Research
    Publisher: Springer
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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