The effects of disturbance history on the taxonomic and functional composition of ground-layer plant communities

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-12
Identifier: 
etd9336
Keywords: 
Disturbance history
Multiple disturbance effects
Wildfire
Clearcut logging
Understory species composition
Plant functional traits
Abstract: 

Plant communities are sensitive to external perturbations and may display alternative recovery pathways depending on disturbance history. In central interior British Columbia, fire and logging are two widespread landscape disturbances that overlap in many regions and little is known about how these cumulative, short-interval disturbances affect ecological communities. Using field-collected data, I compared the taxonomic and functional trait composition of communities that were either logged or unlogged prior to being burned in a large stand-replacing fire. The taxonomic composition diverged between the two treatments, driven primarily by differences in a few key indicator species. The functional diversity of these plant communities did not differ overall between the two treatments. Most species in these communities shared many of the same life-history traits though some species exhibited differences in competition-related morphological traits. My data suggest that pre-fire logging leaves a subtle footprint on post-fire ground-layer plant communities at early stages of succession.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Meg Krawchuk
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Statistics: