W. Kolby Smith

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Recent hypotheses of timberline causation include the possibility that limitations to growth processes may be more limiting than restrictions on photosynthetic carbon gain, and that cold soil is a primary limiting factor at high altitude. However, almost all of the supporting data for timberline causation have come from studies on older trees, with little(More)
The importance of seedling establishment to the position ofalpine-treeline is recognized, yet little is known about factorsaffecting the survival of seedlings of treeline conifers during their initialyears of growth and establishment. This establishment period may have thegreatest mortality of all life stages until death of mature trees by disease orfire.(More)
High-altitude forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains (USA) are frequently immersed in clouds, as are many mountain forests. They may be particularly sensitive to predicted increases in cloud base altitude with global warming. However, few studies have addressed the impacts of immersion on incident sunlight and photosynthesis. Understory sunlight(More)
Microclimate and photosynthesis of krummholz mat growth forms of Picea engelmanii (Parry) and Abies lasiocarpa [Hook.] Nutt. were investigated to determine structural features which may aid survival in alpine environments. The structure of krummholz mats was described in terms of the vertical distribution of leaf area index and leaf area density, which(More)
Juvenile leaves in high-light environments commonly appear red as a result of anthocyanin pigments, which play a photoprotective role during light-sensitive ontogenetic stages. The loss of anthocyanin during leaf development presumably corresponds to a decreased need for photoprotection, as photosynthetic maturation allows leaves to utilize higher light(More)
The relationship between near-infrared reflectance at 800 nm (NIRR) from leaves and characteristics of leaf structure known to affect photosynthesis was investigated in 48 species of alpine angiosperms. This wavelength was selected to discriminate the effects of leaf structure vs. chemical or water content on leaf reflectance. A quantitative model was first(More)
The high altitude spruce-fir (Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poiret.-Picea rubens Sarg.) forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA, experience frequent cloud immersion. Recent studies indicate that cloud bases may have risen over the past 30 years, resulting in less frequent forest cloud immersion, and that further increases in cloud base height are likely(More)
Invasive plants frequently have competitive advantages over native species. These advantages have been characterized in systems in which the invading species has already become well established. Surprisingly, invader impacts on native communities currently undergoing invasion are lacking from most ecological studies. In this work we document and quantify(More)
Most research on the occurrence and stability of alpine timberlines has focused on correlations between adult tree growth and mean temperatures rather than on specific mechanisms. Timberline migration to higher altitude is dependent on new seedling establishment in the tree-line ecotone; however, reductions in photosynthetic carbon gain in establishing(More)
Environmental and water relations parameters during fall were monitored for six conifer tree species common to the central Rocky Mountains growing naturally at the same location (Pinus contorta, Pinus ponderosa, Pinus flexilus, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Abies lasiocarpa, Picea engelmannii). Subsequent to what appeared to be the beginning of seasonal stomatal(More)