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Data from: Environmental context determines the limiting demographic processes for plant recruitment across a species’ elevational range

Citation

Merges, Dominik et al. (2020), Data from: Environmental context determines the limiting demographic processes for plant recruitment across a species’ elevational range, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.xsj3tx9c2

Abstract

Plant recruitment is a multi-stage process determining population dynamics and species distributions. Still, we have limited understanding of how the successive demographic processes depend on the environmental context across species’ distributional ranges. We conducted a large-scale transplant experiment to study recruitment of Pinus cembra over six years. We quantified the effects of environmental conditions on four demographic processes and identified the most limiting across and beyond the pines’ elevational range over several years. Realized transition probabilities of the demographic processes varied substantially across the species' distributional range. Seed deposition decreased from the lower to the upper elevational range margin by 90 %, but this reduction was offset by increased seed germination and seedling survival. Dispersal limitation at the upper range margin potentially stems from unsuitable seed caching conditions for the animal seed disperser, whereas increased seed germination might result from enemy escape from fungal pathogens and favourable abiotic conditions at the upper range margin. Our multi-year experiment demonstrates that environmental context is decisive for the local relevance of particular demographic processes. We conclude that experimental studies identifying the limiting demographic processes controlling species distributions are key for projecting future range dynamics of plants.

Usage Notes

Data were collected in the field between 2012-2017 in the Flüela and Sertig valley, Davos, Switzerland. Abbreviated headlines are as follows: "cache" = presence/absence of caching site, "germin1/gemin0" = proportion of seeds germinated, "germin0/pred" = proportion of seeds predated, "surv" = presence/absence of surving seedling. "cc" = canopy cover (%), "veg" = ground vegetation cover (%), "year" = year, "site_reg" = site ID, "Ind_RE" = individual level random effect