Self-thinning in Historically Monospecific and Even-aged Plots of Prunus serotina

Liyuan Gao Earlham College, Emily Buttrum Earlham College, Cassie Olmsted Earlham College, Rachel Riggs Earlham College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Brent Smith Earlham College
Self-thinning is a process that occurs when plants in a stand achieve high density and biomass, and the increased biomass cannot be supported without reducing density. We studied a nearly monospecific and even-aged stand of Prunus serotina (Black Cherry trees), which grew in the back campus of Earlham College after the cessation of farming and subsequent mowing. Over the course of 30 years, many of these trees died and newcomers of a variety of species began to grow. Some of the P. serotina survived to 2016 and the time of the most recent census of the sixteen study plots. The goal of this study is to understand what factors contribute to whether a particular individual lives or dies in a self-thinning situation and how community composition changes over time. Height, height of lowest living branch, and basal area were recorded for all trees in all plots semi-regularly. The plots have varying densities and soil qualities. The species composition of the plots has changed over the course of this study, from monospecific plots of P. serotina in 1987 to a more diverse composition 2016. Our results suggest that different features of the P. serotina trees present in 1987 had an impact on which trees survived to 2016, and that density and soil quality together shape the survivorship and individual traits of the trees present.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:30 PM
Gallahue Hall 101