Understory Vegetation Dynamics in Non-Native Douglas Fir Forests after Management Abandonment—A Case Study in Two Strict Forest Reserves in Southwest Germany

2022 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Understory Vegetation Dynamics in Non-Native Douglas Fir Forests after Management Abandonment—A Case Study in Two Strict Forest Reserves in Southwest Germany​
Heinrichs, S.; Dölle, M.; Vor, T.; Balcar, P. & Schmidt, W.​ (2022) 
Diversity14(10) pp. 795​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/d14100795 

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Authors
Heinrichs, Steffi; Dölle, Michaela; Vor, Torsten; Balcar, Patricia; Schmidt, Wolfgang
Abstract
The non-native Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is widely distributed in Europe and promoted by forestry due to its assumed resistance against climate change. An increasing cultivation area is, however, viewed critically by nature conservation as negative effects on native biodiversity and naturalness are expected. We investigated plant species diversity and composition in two strict forest reserves (SFR) dominated by Douglas fir in southwest Germany. These reserves were established in the years 2001/2002 to study the development of Douglas fir forests after management abandonment. Vegetation surveys were conducted in 2005 and repeated in 2017. We used re-survey data from a nearby SFR dominated by native tree species as a reference. The understory vegetation showed consistent development after management abandonment, irrespective of tree species identity and origin. It became less diverse and more shade-tolerant over time due to missing soil disturbance and decreasing light availability. In contrast to a native canopy, though, Douglas fir promoted the share of generalist species. Regeneration of Douglas fir largely decreased in the SFRs underlining its competitive weakness against native tree species, mainly against European beech (Fagus sylvatica). Thereby, regeneration patterns of Douglas fir in the SFR were similar to those observed in the native range.
Issue Date
2022
Journal
Diversity 
Organization
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Waldbau und Waldökologie der gemäßigten Zonen 
ISSN
1424-2818
eISSN
1424-2818
Language
English
Sponsor
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2022

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