It has been argued that if the cost of investment in cold resistance mechanisms detracts significantly from growth rates, then height growth tradeoffs should control species sorting on latitudinal temperature gradients. Applying the same logic to altitudinal temperature gradients, it can be predicted that species' upper altitudinal limits will be fixed by their degree of cold resistance, whereas the lower altitudinal limits of species growing higher up will be set by competition from faster-growing thermophilous species. We tested this prediction for three Nothofagus species on an altitudinal gradient (1,100 - 1,700 m) near Termas de Chilián, on the lower western slopes of the Andean Cordillera. We used retrospective methods to measure height increment during the previous growing season, for juvenile trees growing under open conditions at 12 sites. As expected, height growth rates generally decreased with increasing altitude. However, relationships between altitude and height growth did not differ among species. As growth rates of cold-resistant N. pumilio were very similar to those of its more thermophilous competitors N. obliqua and N. dombeyi, our initial prediction was not upheld by the data, and we can not explain what determines the lower altitudinal limit of M pumilio.
|Translated title of the contribution||Juvenile height growth rates and sorting of three nothofagus species on an altitudinal gradient|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|
- Cold resistence
- Temperate forest