EFFECTS OF NATURAL BROADLEAVED REGENERATION VS CONIFER RESTORATION ON THE HERB LAYER AND MICROCLIMATE

Dragana Vukov, Zoran Galić, Marko Rućando, Miloš Ilić, Mirjana Ćuk, Dušan Igić, Ružica Igić, Saša Orlović

Abstract


This study was carried out on the Vidlič Mountain, eastern Serbia. The herb layer was surveyed in permanent plots on two localities: in a naturally regenerated beech forest and in a Douglas-fir plantation, in spring, summer and autumn 2011, 2012 and 2013. Air temperature, air humidity and soil moisture were measured. Species richness, Shannon’s diversity index and Pielou’s evenness index were calculated for each plot. Comparison of the abundances of species common to both forest stands was done using the Mann-Whitney U-test. The compositional gradient of the species data was examined using detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and the species-environment relationship was analyzed by canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). Soil moisture and the total herb cover significantly differed in the naturally regenerated beech forest and Douglas-fir plantation. Floristic similarity between the surveyed forest stands was 28.12%. Although the dominant canopy species is known to be the strongest predictor of the herb layer, the model that includes all of the analyzed environmental factors explains the largest amount of the species variability. The species best fitted to this model are Dryopteris filix-mas, Galium odoratum, Pulmonaria officinalis, Sanicula europaea, Pteridium aquilinum and Rubus caesius. The analyzed forest stands are examples of two different post-disturbance regeneration strategies. Having in mind the limitations of this study, we can conclude that the naturally regenerated beech forest recovers faster: its herbaceous layer indicated nearly natural conditions, with only a few pioneer and disturbance-tolerant species. The herb layer in the Douglas-fir stand is still in the early seral stage, i.e. establishment.

 

Key words: beech; Douglas-fir; overstory effect; temperate forests

 

Received: July 27, 2015; Revised: September 29, 2015; Accepted: October 3, 2015; Published online: April 18, 2016


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