The nature of the external sources of sediment or soil dictates the geographic extent of forests on these young lava flows: flood-borne deposits cover localized regions near river channels, while tephra can cover large regions.

In general, our results suggest that external sources of soil provide a substrate for plants to grow in along with key nutrients and sufficient moisture retention.

These time-varying discharge rates were then used to drive MAGFLOW simulations to chart the spread of lava as a function of time.

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In this study we examine two sites of recent volcanism in the central Oregon Cascades, notable for the juxtaposition of barren exposed lava and mature forests on lava flows of the same or roughly the same age.

We use a combination of Li DAR analyses, field observations, and soil characterization to examine soil and vegetation at these two sites, and find that the presence of an external sediment or soil source, particularly flood-borne deposits or syn- or post-eruptive tephra, greatly facilitates plant establishment, growth, and survival.

Effusive volcanic eruptions repave landscapes rapidly with lava flows, resetting broad areas of the underlying landscape and ecosystem.

The unique physical properties of lava pose interesting challenges for ecologic recovery, as lava is dense, sterile, and generally inhospitable towards life.

We conclude that external sources of soil source are key for the initial recovery following an effusive volcanic disturbance, in particular in temperate climates.

Thus, unrelated geomorphic processes, such as past glaciations that provide local sources of mobile sediments, or concurrent volcanic processes, such as tephra production, dictate the presence or absence of forests on young lava flows.► In situ weathering of lava is not the main source of soil on young lava flows.

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