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Differences Among Deciduous and Coniferous Trees

Differences Among Deciduous and Coniferous Trees

As stated by the General Ecology book, competition is the interaction between two species over a limiting resource that negatively affects one or both of their population growth rates. Intraspecific competition is the competition between members of the same species. This can include competition for light, water, nutrients, and space. A tree's life traits are also of great importance. They can effect the distribution, abundance and density found in an area.

Coniferous trees are those which keep their leaves throughout the winter. They have small leaves called needles that are coated with wax to prevent water loss, and are soaked in resin which helps the needles withstand freezing. The needle shape is and asset in winter because it offers no resistance to wind. As a result of these adaptations conifers can grow where soils are shallow and poor, and where moisture is low. Another advantage of conifers is that they can hold their needles all winter and therefore, they can start photosynthesis early in spring as soon as the sun gets warmer and the ice melts. The coniferous tree used in this experiment was the white spruce. The white spruce tree grows in forests with well-drained soils. Although the white spruce needs well-aerated water to grow efficiently it can survive in various moisture conditions and will grow on dry soil if it is fertile. The white spruce prefers sun but can also live in some shade. It is a hardy tree, withstanding wind, heat, cold, drought and crowding (Earl Rook 1998). This permits it to have a random distribution and high density. Since it can withstand such variety, abundance would be favorably strong.

Deciduous trees are those that shed their needles in the fall and remain dormant in the winter so that they can survive until the spring. Their leaves are wide and long which allows for maximum photosynthesis during their short growing season. This adaptation enables them to be better food producers than conifers. The deciduous tree used in this experiment was the poplar. Its canopy (highest level of foliage in a forest) typically allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor than do conifers. In addition to providing key habitat for wildlife, some may act as a ‘nurse crop’ for shade-tolerant species that do not become established in full sunlight (eg.conifers) (Douglas Johnson 1999) The poplar is found in a variety of...

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