Natural Disturbance and the Steady State in High-Altitude Balsam Fir Forests

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Science  23 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4480, pp. 390-393
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4480.390


Wind-induced, cyclic waves of death, regeneration, and maturation constantly move through the high-altitude balsam fir forests in the northeastern United States. Biomass and productivity relations, species diversity, and nutrient cycling patterns are closely tied to this cycle of disturbance. Disturbance is thus an integral part of the long-term maintenance of this ecosystem. Since forests of this type normally include all phases of the disturbance-regeneration cycle, they may constitute a steady-state ecosystem in equilibrium with the surrounding environment.

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