Quantitative and qualitative characteristics of cones and seeds and the emergence and survival of seedlings in the Siberian spruce (Picea obovata Ledeb.) were studied in different parts of the timberline ecotone on the Iremel’ Massif, the Southern Urals, from 2003 to 2006. In the productive year 2003, a decrease in the number of cones (from 110000 to 3000 per hectare), the yield of seeds (from 13 × 106 to 0.09 × 106 per hectare), and their laboratory germination rate (from 34 to 14%) with an increase in elevation above sea level was recorded. In 2004, significant differences in the number of seedlings per hectare were revealed between the lower, middle, and upper parts of the ecotone (85 200, 19 800, and 0–400 ind., respectively). It has been shown that the greater part of seedlings (76–96%) perish during the first cold period. New generations of spruce trees are formed only after productive years. Seed production and seedling mortality in spruce apparently depend not only on air temperature and soil moistening but also on snow depth and soil temperature, which change more abruptly along the altitudinal gradient.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 19, 2011
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