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1 June 2005 COTTONWOOD UNDERSTORY ZONATION AND ITS RELATION TO FLOODPLAIN STRATIGRAPHY
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Abstract

Species composition in floodplain vegetation is often related to initial floristics, succession, and disturbances such as flooding and herbivory. However, on a braided, cobble-bedded river with contrasting sediment facies, much of the composition of understory vegetation within a cottonwood forest was related to edaphic factors controlled by stream-deposit stratigraphy. Large shifts in understory species composition were more related to soil texture and water availability than deposit age or hydroperiod. Finer-textured and thicker overbank deposits had greater water availability and supported mesic species, while sites with coarse sediments to the surface supported only xeric species. A strong gradient of site moisture corresponded to a gradient in species composition. Soil water potential (Ψs) indicated by pre-dawn xylem water potential (XWPPD) in a shallow-rooted grass reached −4.2 MPa on xeric-species sites in mid-summer; on mesic-species sites, XWPPD was always greater than −1.5 MPa for the same grass species. Deep-rooted plants had a narrower range of XWPPD across all sites, and XWPPD was typically between 0.0 and −1.0 MPa. Ψs derived from actual soil water content followed the same pattern indicated by species composition, soil texture, and XWPPD.

Michael F. Merigliano "COTTONWOOD UNDERSTORY ZONATION AND ITS RELATION TO FLOODPLAIN STRATIGRAPHY," Wetlands 25(2), 356-374, (1 June 2005). https://doi.org/10.1672/12
Received: 2 February 2003; Accepted: 1 February 2005; Published: 1 June 2005
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