Reply to Price et al.: An inconvenient Truth About the Long-term Forest Change in Western Canada: Competition is the Primary Driving Force
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (August 11, 2015, v112 n32; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1509592112) / Jian Zhang, et al.
Price et al. (1) object to our findings (2) that forest dynamics in western Canada is primarily driven by competition, not climate, but they provide no direct evidence to support their case. Price et al.’s (1) letter, in our opinion, misrepresents our study (2).
First, we cannot agree with the title that Price et al. (1) have suggested. Ecologists disagree about many things but few disagree that competition is a fundamental mechanism underlying the change of long-lived forest ecosystems, as predicted by decades of well-corroborated succession theory. Forests change over time and there is much evidence that such changes can be driven largely by competition. Perhaps failure to understand the central role of competition in succession lead Price et al. to assert that climate is the only driver of forest dynamics, but they provide no evidence to support such an assertion…