We assessed Rubus seed bank abundance and variability in 39 stands located throughout northern Pennsylvania as part of a replicated chronosequence of age classes. Seed abundance declined precipitously after stand age 60 in the Allegheny hardwoods or after stand age 50 in the northern hardwood and oak forests. Variability among sites increased with stand age, resulting in less predictability of Rubus seed abundance. Rubus seed banks were more than twice as abundant in Allegheny and northern hardwoods as in mixed oaks. Rubus seed bank abundance decreased as percent clay in the soil increased. Given that Rubus seed bank abundance declines with age and seed abundance becomes more variable, we suggest that there will be less Rubus immediately following the stand-replacing disturbances in older stands, potentially changing plant competition dynamics and wildlife food sources.
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