Question: How does the vegetation of boreal forests respond to harvesting and scarification? Location: 650 m a.s.l., central Sweden (61°38' N). Methods: The response of boreal forest vegetation to cutting and scarification was studied in a field trial, which consisted of three treatments plus conventional harvesting as a control in a complete block design with four replicates. The cutting was done 14 years prior to vegetation inventory and scarification and planting were conducted the first or second years after cutting. Results: The species most abundant at higher cutting intensities were crustose lichens, Cladonia spp., Cladina arbuscula, Polytrichum spp. and pioneer mosses, the grass Deschampsia flexuosa, and the tree Betula pubescens, A few species had substantially lower abundance in treatments with higher cutting intensity, notably Hylocomium splendens and Vaccinium myrtillus. Scarification had a strong effect that was different from the one created by cutting. In scarification treatments, Polytrichum spp. were the only species with high abundance; most species had low abundance, i.e. Barbilophozia lycopodioides, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Pleurozium schreberi, Carex globularis, Empetrum nigrum, Cladina arbuscula, Sphagnum spp. Conclusions: Our results elaborate on the details of the well-known effect of cutting on ground-layer flora, and also give support for the profound and long-lasting effect that soil scarification has on forest vegetation.
This journal is closely linked to the Journal of Vegetation Science. It publishes original articles, short notes and review articles in the field of applied vegetation science. Applied Vegetation Science is the Official Organ of the International Association of Vegetation Science (IAVS).