Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2021

Abstract

Reforestation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of Texas began in the 1960s and to date over 6,475 ha of land has been reforested. However, there has been minimal assessment to understand differential species success, compositional trends, and the aboveground C sequestration potential of these developing forests. We coupled quantitative planting information of >50 native woody tree and shrub species with surveys of 5,223 stems of 4,606 individuals in a chronosequence of restored forests ranging in age from 1 to 33 years to estimate species-specific mortality rates, biomass accumulation and recruitment, as well as compositional trends in the herbaceous understory. We show that 7–15 years are required for mortality rates of the transplanted cohort to stabilize to background levels observed in other dry forests. A small number of species, mostly N-fixing trees with a deep rooting habit, persisted on the landscape beyond 15 years. Even so, aboveground biomass (corrected for differences in initial planting density) accumulated at an average rate of 1.41 Mg ha−1 yr.−1 compared to 0.35 Mg ha−1 yr.−1 for a fallow old-field. Species biomass growth rates increased with decreasing mortality, as did the abundance of recruits, suggesting a degree of reproduction by initial planted cohorts. However, a suite of highly competitive exotic grasses increases in density over a 25-year period, which we link to suppressed seedling recruitment. This poses a serious challenge to the long-term sustainability of planted forests in the LRGV. We highlight potential avenues of research and modification to restoration methodologies.

Comments

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

"This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

Albrecht, C., Contreras, Z., Wahl-Villareal, K., Sternberg, M. and Christoffersen, B. (2021), Winners and losers in dryland reforestation: Species survival, growth, and recruitment along a 33-year planting chronosequence. Restor Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript e13559. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13559

, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13559. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.


Publication Title

Restor Ecol.

DOI

10.1111/rec.13559

Available for download on Friday, September 23, 2022

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