50 Jahre Konstanz und Dynamik im Seggen-Hangbuchenwald (Carici-Fagetum) – Ein Vergleich alterund neuer Vegetationsaufnahmen aus dem Göttinger Wald

2014 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​50 Jahre Konstanz und Dynamik im Seggen-Hangbuchenwald (Carici-Fagetum) – Ein Vergleich alterund neuer Vegetationsaufnahmen aus dem Göttinger Wald​
Heinrichs, S.; Winterhoff, W. & Schmidt, W.​ (2014) 
Tuexenia34 pp. 9​-38​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.14471/2014.34.008 

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Heinrichs, Steffi; Winterhoff, Wulfard; Schmidt, Wolfgang
Aim – The vegetation of Central European beech forests has changed considerably over the past decades. However, the influence of land-use, climate change, eutrophication and deer browsing on thermophilous beech forests on dry slopes is unknown. We compared vegetation relevés from 1955 to 1960 with recent surveys and asked: (1) How did structure, diversity and plant species composition change? (2) What are the driving factors behind these changes? (3) What conclusions can be drawn for a future development and management of these forests? Location – Göttingen forest (southern Lower Saxony, Germany, Central Europe) Methods – The vegetation of four sub-associations of the Carici-Fagetum was surveyed on 78 semi-permanent plots in the time periods 1955 to 1960 and 2011 to 2012. Differences in vegetation structure, diversity, species composition, species groups and site parameters between the time periods were analyzed using ordination and permutation analyses as well as pairwise comparisons. Results – In terms of structure, the shrub layer gained in coverage, probably due to an intensification of hunting. In the herb layer, species typical of the Carici-Fagetum, including many red-list-species, decreased, whilst species typical for mesic beech forests increased, which is also visible in Ellenberg indicator values. Thus the decrease of light-demanding species, tolerant of drought and low nutrient supply is accompanied by an increase in shade-tolerant, mesophilous, nutrient-demanding species of closed beech forests which produces a homogenization of the vegetation. This development is attributed to changes in microclimate caused by a dense shrub layer as well as atmospheric nitrogen deposition, which promotes the growth of beech. A clear increase in the evergreen ivy (Hedera helix), an oceanic species very susceptible to low temperatures in winter and promoted by elevated CO2-concentrations, indicates an influence of global climate change. This species might also have benefitted from a reduction in roe deer browsing, as did Lilium martagon, the only red-list-species gaining in cover over the past 50 years. Conclusion – Thermophilous beech forests on dry slopes have lost characteristic and valuable floristic elements – often relicts of the past coppice-with-standard and wood pasture management – over the past 50 years. The abandonment of forest management, often due to nature conservation measures, the reduction in roe deer browsing and the deposition of atmospheric nitrogen have initiated a succession of the Carici-Fagetum community towards mesic forests, a development typical for thermophilous deciduous forests in Central Europe, which are recovering from centuries of wood extraction and soil degradation.
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Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Waldbau und Waldökologie der gemäßigten Zonen 



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