Demographic patterns of seedling establishment and growth of native graminoids in an Alaskan tundra disturbance.

Published online
17 Feb 1984
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Gartner, B. L. & Chapin, F. S., III & Shaver, G. R.

Publication language
USA & Alaska


Presence or absence of buried seed was the major factor governing natural revegetation of a bulldozed disturbance in Alaskan tussock tundra. The viable buried seed pool contained 97% Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex bigelowii seed and was restricted to organic soil horizons. Disturbed organic soils thus reached a final seedling density of 250 seedlings/m2 after 4 yr while mineral soils colonized by current seed deposition contained 30 seedlings/m2, including many grasses. Fertilizer application increased the growth of grass and 2- to 4-yr-old Carex seedlings by a factor of 4-10 but did not affect Eriophorum growth. Grasses grew more rapidly on mineral than organic soils. Seedling mortality during the first 2 yr was low (43% in Eriophorum, 27% in grass and 13% in Carex); it did not differ between organic and mineral substrates and was increased by fertilizer application.

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