‘Down but not out!’ - Windthrow trees as competitive organisms within storm generated ‘gaps’ in East Kent

Vujakovic, P. (2011) ‘Down but not out!’ - Windthrow trees as competitive organisms within storm generated ‘gaps’ in East Kent. The Arboricultural Journal, 33 (4). pp. 213-227. ISSN 0307-1375.

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Abstract

The Great Storm of 1987 had a major impact on woodlands throughout SE England, felling many mature trees. The research literature dealing with such disturbance events discusses fallen trees as if they are simply a toppled deadweight which mechanically creates a canopy gap and which subsequently rots to release nutrients. Gap creation is assumed to offer new opportunities for sapling trees, pioneer species and species which are shade intolerant. This paper suggests that this view is too simplistic. Windthrow (and wind-tilted) trees often survive the event and remain as healthy and robust organisms. Research in East Kent woodlands suggests that fallen trees remain competitive and may even dominate the ‘gaps’ their fall has created, thereby widening their dominance over an area of woodland rather than surrendering it. The concept of the ‘gap’ as a simple resetting of the environment to ‘ground zero’ and an opportunity for new growth is contestable and in need of further detailed research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Prof Peter Vujakovic
Date Deposited: 18 May 2015 14:02
Last Modified: 18 May 2015 14:03
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13391

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00