Linear disturbances and bishop's cap
Response of bishop’s cap to linear disturbances
Western Boreal Forest, Canada
Principle Investigator
Associate Professor & Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair
Status: Active, Study began in 2013; currently in analysis

Bishop’s cap (Mitella nuda) is a small herbaceous plant common to the understory of conifer and mixed conifer boreal forests. Despite being common, studies suggest that bishop’s cap is one of the most sensitive plants to forest fragmentation with forest edge effects apparent for natural and anthropogenic disturbances, including traditional (2D) seismic lines. It is not clear what specific factors and mechanisms lead to local declines in bishop’s cap, what the scale of the edge effect is, and how size of disturbance (width of linear feature) affects these relationships. We are studying the scale at which abundance (density) and reproduction (flowers/seeds) in bishop’s cap is affected by distance from linear disturbances to test whether reproduction (flowers per leaf and seeds per leaf) is limiting recruitment near edges resulting in population sinks or whether the effect is from a reduction in the regeneration niche.