The effects of stand characteristics on the understory vegetation in Quercus petraea and Q. cerris dominated forests

Abstract

Different types of forest use significantly changed the structure and species composition of European temperate forests. Herbaceous species and seedlings are important parts of the forest ecosystem, thus it is necessary to understand the effects of stand characteristics on the species composition of the understory. In our study we assessed the main factors that affect the species composition of herb and tree seedling assemblages in Quercus petraea and Q. cerris dominated stands (age 50–150 years) in the Bükk Mountains, Hungary. The relationship between the studied assemblages and explanatory variables (tree species composition, stand structure, canopy closure and topography) were explored by Redundancy Analysis (RDA). The occurrence of herbaceous species was affected by canopy closure, stand structure (mean DBH and DBHcv of trees), topography and the density and diversity of shrub layers. Oak forest species were associated with more open stands with sparsely distributed large trees, while mesic forest species were positively associated with heterogeneous stand structure, low shrub density, and western exposure. Seedlings of trees and shrubs showed a dispersal limited phenomenon. The composition of seedlings was significantly influenced by the mean DBH of trees, the structural heterogeneity of the overstory, the tree species diversity and the density of shrub layers. However the seedlings of both dominant oak species required the same stand structure, sessile oak was able to regenerate almost exclusively in those stands where it was dominant in the overstory, which is significant for the management of the species. Generally, forest management affects species composition and structure of the overstory, accordingly it had direct and indirect effects on the understory community as well.

Abbreviations

DBH:

Diameter at breast height.

References

  1. ÁESZ (Hungarian Forest Service). 2008. Magyarország erdőál-lományai, 2006. Hungarian Forest Service, Budapest, http://www.nebih.gov.hu/erdeszet_cd/index.htm

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barbier, S., F. Gosselin and P. Balandrier. 2008. Influence of tree species on understory vegetation diversity and mechanisms involved – A critical review for temperate and boreal forests. Forest Ecol. Manag. 254: 1–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bengtsson, J., S. G. Nilsson, A. Franc and P. Menozzi. 2000. Biodiversity, disturbances, ecosystem function and management of European forests. Forest Ecol. Manag. 132: 39–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Borhidi, A., B. Kevey and G. Lendvay. 2012. Plant Communities of Hungary. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bölöni, J., Zs. Molnár, M. Biró and F. Horváth. 2008. Distribution of the (semi-) natural habitats in Hungary II. Woodlands and shrublands. Acta Bot. Hung. 50 (suppl.): 107–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bölöni, J., G. Fekete, A. Kun, G. Tímár, D. Bartha, F. Szmorad, J. Nagy and M. Juhász. 2011. L2a – Cseres-kocsánytalan tölgye-sek. In: Bölöni, J., Molnár, Zs. and Kun, A. (eds.): Magyar-ország élőhelyei. Vegetációtípusok leírása és határozója, ÁNÉR 2011. MTA Ökológiai és Botanikai Kutatóintézete, Vácrátót, pp. 308–314.

  7. Brunet, J., U. Falkengren-Grerup and G. Tyler. 1996. Herb layer vegetation of south Swedish beech and oak forests – effects of management and soil acidity during one decade. Forest Ecol. Manag. 88: 259–272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Burrascano, S., F. M. Sabatini and C. Blasi. 2011. Testing indicators of sustainable forest management on understorey composition and diversity in southern Italy through variation partitioning. Plant Ecol. 212: 829–841.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chytrý, M. and L. Tichý. 2003. Diagnostic, constant and dominant species of vegetation classes and alliances of the Czech Republic: a statistical revision. Folia Facultatis Scientiarum Natu-ralium Universitatis Masarykianae Brunensis 108: 1–231.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Csapody, I., A. Horánszky, T. Pócs, T. Simon, I. Szodfridt and P. Tallós. 1962. Die ökologischen Artengruppen der Wälder Un-garns. Acta Agronomica 12: 209–232.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Decocq, G., M. Aubert, F. Dupont, J. Bardat, A. Wattez-Franger, R. Saguez, B. De Foucault, D. Alard and A. Deleis-Dusollier. 2005. Silviculture-driven vegetation change in a European temperate deciduous forest. Ann. Forest Sci. 62: 313–323.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Directive 92/43/EEC, 1992. Council Directive of 21 May 1992 on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. – OJ L 206, 22.07.1992.

  13. Dzwonko, Z. and S. Gawroński. 2002. Effect of litter removal on species richness and acidification of a mixed oak-pine woodland. Biol. Conserv. 106: 389–398.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Ford, W. M., R. H. Odom, P. E. Hale and B. R. Chapman. 2000. Stand age, stand characteristics, and landform effects on under-story herbaceous communities in southern Appalachian cove-hardwoods. Biol. Conserv. 93: 237–246.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Fredericksen, T. S., B. D. Ross, W. Hoffman, M. L. Morrison, J. Beyea, B. N. Johnson, M. B. Lester and E. Ross. 1999. Short-term understory plant community responses to timber-harvesting intensity on non-industrial private forestlands in Pennsylvania. Forest Ecol. Manag. 116: 129–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gencsi, L. and R. Vancsura. 1992. Dendrológia. Mezőgazda Kiadó, Budapest.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Graae, B. J. and V. S. Heskjaer. 1997. A comparison of understorey vegetation between untouched and managed deciduous forest in Denmark. Forest Ecol. Manag. 96: 111–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Härdtle , W., G. von Oheimb and C. Westphal. 2003. The effects of light and soil conditions on the species richness of the ground vegetation of deciduous forests in northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein). Forest Ecol. Manag. 182: 327–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hermy, M., O. Honnay, L. Firbank, C. Grashof-Bokdam and J. E. Lawesson. 1999. An ecological comparison between ancient and other forest plant species of Europe, and the implications for forest conservation. Biol. Conserv. 91: 9–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Honnay, O., M. Hermy and P. Coppin. 1999. Impact of habitat quality on forest plant species colonization. Forest Ecol. Manag. 115: 157–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Horn, H. S. 1971. The Adaptive Geometry of Trees. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Horváth, F. and A. Borhidi (eds.) 2002. A hazai erdőrezervátum-ku-tatás célja, stratégiája és módszerei. A KvVM Ter-mészetvédelmi Hivatalának tanulmánykötetei 8. Természet-Búvár, Budapest.

  23. Horváth, F., K. Z. Dobolyi, T. Morschhauser, L. Lőkös, L. Karas and T. Szerdahelyi. 1995. FLÓRA Adatbázis 1.2. Taxon-lista és at-tribútum-állomány. Flóra Munkacsoport MTA Ökológiai és Bo-tanikai Kutatóintézete és MTM Növénytár, Vácrátót.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Ito, S., R. Nakayama and G. P. Buckley. 2004. Effects of previous land-use on plant species diversity in semi-natural and plantation forests in a warm-temperate region in southeastern Kyushu, Japan. Forest Ecol. Manag. 196: 213–225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kelemen, K., B. Mihók, L. Gálhidy and T. Standovár. 2012. Dynamic response of herbaceous vegetation to gap opening in a central European beech stand. Silva Fennica 46: 53–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kirby, K. J. 1988. Changes in the ground flora under plantations on ancient woodland sites. Forestry 61: 317–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kotroczó, Zs., Zs. Krakomperger, G. Koncz, M. Papp, D. B. Richard and J. A. Tóth. 2007. A Síkfőkúti cseres-tölgyes fafaj-össze- tételének és struktúrájának hosszú távú változása. Természet-védelmi Közlemények 13: 93–100.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Lemmon, R. E. 1956. A spherical densiometer for estimating forest overstorey density. Forest Sci. 2: 314–320.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Maranón, T., R. Ajbilou, F. Ojeda and J. Arroyo. 1999. Biodiversity of woody species in oak woodlands of southern Spain and northern Morocco. Forest Ecol. Manag. 115: 147–156.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Mersich, I., T. Práger, P. Ambrózy, M. Hunkár and Z. Dunkel (eds.) 2002. Magyarország éghajlati atlasza. Országos meteorológiai Szolgálat, Budapest.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Pérez-Ramos, I. M., M. A. Zavala, T. Maranón, M. D. Díaz-Villa and F. Valladares. 2008. Dynamics of understorey herbaceous plant diversity following shrub clearing of cork oak forests: a five-year study. Forest Ecol. Manag. 255: 3242–3253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Podani, J. 2000. Introduction to the Exploration of Multivariate Biological Data. Backhuys, Leiden, The Netherlands.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rackham, O. 2000. The History of the Countryside: The Classic History of Britain’s Landscape, Flora and Fauna. Phoenix Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Rogers, D. A., T. P. Rooney, D. Olson and D. M. Waller. 2008. Shifts in southern Wisconsin forest canopy and understory richness, composition and heterogenity. Ecology 89: 2482–2492.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Roleček, J. 2005. Vegetation types of dry-mesic oak forests in Slovakia. Preslia 77: 241–261.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Rubio, A., R. Gavilán and A. Escudero. 1999. Are soil characteristics and understorey composition controlled by forest management? Forest Ecol. Manag. 113: 191–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Schumann, M. E., A. S. White and J. W. Witham. 2003. The effects of harvest-created gaps on plant species diversity, composition and abundance in a Maine oak-pine forest. Forest Ecol. Manag. 176: 543–561.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Sharpe, F., D. C. Shaw, C. L. Rose, S. C. Sillett and A. B. Carey. 1996. The biologically significant attributes of forest canopies to small birds. Northwest Sci. 70: 86–93.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Simon, T. (ed.) 2000. A Magyarországi edényes flóra határozója. Harasztok-Virágos növények. Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Ståhl, G., A. Ringvall and J. Fridman. 2001. Assessment of coarse woody debris – a methodological overview. Ecological Bulletins 49: 57–70.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Standovár, T., P. Ódor, R. Aszalós and L. Gálhidy. 2006. Sensitivity of ground layer vegetation diversity descriptors in indicating forest naturalness. Community Ecol. 7: 199–209

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Szabó, P. 2005. Woodland and Forests in Medieval Hungary. Ar-chaeopress, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Ter Braak, C. J. F. and P. Šmilauer. 2002. CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows user’s guide: software for canonical community ordination (version 4.5). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Tinya, F., S. Márialigeti, I. Király, B. Németh and P. Ódor. 2009. The effect of light conditions on herbs, bryophytes and seedlings of temperate mixed forests in Őrség, Western Hungary. Plant Ecol. 204: 69–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Tobisch, T. and T. Standovár. 2005. A comparison of vegetation patterns in the tree and herb layers of a hardwood forest. Community Ecol. 6: 29–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Tutin, T. G., N. A. Burges, A. O. Chater, J. R. Edmondson, V. H. Heywood, D. M. Moore, D. H. Valentine, S. M. Walters and D. A. Webb. 1964–1993. Flora Europaea. Vols. 1–5 and Vol. 1, ed. 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Tybirk, K. and B. Strandberg. 1999. Oak forest development as a result of historical land-use patterns and present nitrogen deposition. Forest Ecol. Manag. 114: 97–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Van Calster, H., L. Baeten, K. Verheyen, D. L. Keersmaeker, S. Dekeyser, J. E. Rogister and M. Hermy. 2008. Diverging effects of overstorey conversion scenarios on the understorey vegetation in a former coppice-with-standards forest. Forest Ecol. Manag. 256: 519–528.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Van Wagner, C. E. 1968. The line intersect method in forest fuel sampling. Forest Sci. 14: 20–26.

    Google Scholar 

  50. von Oheimb, G. and J. Brunet. 2007. Dalby Söderskog revisited: long-term vegetation changes in a south Swedish deciduous forest. Acta Oecol. 31: 229–242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. von Oheimb, G. and W. Härdtle. 2009. Selection harvest in temperate deciduous forest: impact on herb layer richness and composition. Biodivers. Conserv. 18: 271–287.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Warren, W. G. and P. F. Olsen. 1964. A line intersect technique for assessing logging waste. Forest Sci. 10: 267–276.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Whigham, D. F. 2004. The ecology of woodland herbs in temperate deciduous forests. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. S. 35: 583–621.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. Ádám.

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ádám, R., Ódor, P. & Bölöni, J. The effects of stand characteristics on the understory vegetation in Quercus petraea and Q. cerris dominated forests. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 14, 101–109 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.14.2013.1.11

Download citation

Keywords

  • Forest herbs
  • Oak forests
  • Seedlings
  • Stand structure
  • Regeneration