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Tamm review: Forest understorey and overstorey interactions: So much more than just light interception by trees

Abstract : Plant interactions play a key role in forest ecosystem dynamics. The tallest plants, namely the overstorey trees, are obvious major drivers, particularly in competition for light. This process has already been amply described. However, the role played by lower strata has often been underestimated. In this review, we first briefly recall the role of over- and understoreys in structuring forest microclimate, mostly through light sharing. We then focus on belowground interactions between over- and understorey, where knowledge is more piecemeal, partly because of measurement difficulties. Even so, some studies show that competition for water and nutrients by the overstorey controls the development of understorey vegetation much more than competition for light. The reverse (overstorey limitation by the understorey) has also been encountered, but has been much less well researched. We also address the involvement of mycorrhizae, specifically their role in alleviating overstorey drought stress and contributing to nutrient cycling. We go on to show how another example of key ecosystem engineers, large mammalian herbivores, shape above- and belowground resources and intervene in over- and understorey interactions. In conclusion, for a better understanding of forest dynamics and adapted management, particularly in the context of global climate change, we advocate taking account not only of trees but of all forest components. Belowground processes need more research. The roles of mycorrhizal networks, root exudates, microbiota, and chemical cues need to be further explored to gain a finer understanding of the interactions between over- and understorey.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03831944
Contributor : Philippe BALANDIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, October 27, 2022 - 11:58:54 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 10:12:03 AM

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Philippe Balandier, Anders Mårell, Bernard Prévosto, Lucie Vincenot. Tamm review: Forest understorey and overstorey interactions: So much more than just light interception by trees. Forest Ecology and Management, 2022, 526, pp.120584. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120584⟩. ⟨hal-03831944⟩

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