An individual based forest model links canopy dynamics and shade tolerances along a soil moisture gradient Jean Liénard and Nikolay Strigul
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Understanding how forested ecosystems respond to climatic changes is a challenging problem as forest self-organization occurs simultaneously across multiple scales. Here, we explore the hypothesis that soil water availability shapes above-ground competition and gap dynamics, and ultimately alters the dominance of shade tolerant and intolerant species along the moisture gradient. We adapt a spatially explicit individual-based model with simultaneous crown and root competitions. Simulations show that the transition from xeric to mesic soils is accompanied by an increase in shade-tolerant species similar to the patterns documented in the North American forests.
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