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The effect of an increasing tree canopy on hay meadow vegetation in south-west Norway

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In a sloping hay meadow, situated on phyllitic soils in the fjord region of western Norway, shade from solitary trees in the lower meadow and from high tree cover on the upper slopes has reduced the number of indicators of traditional management, which include vulnerable hay-meadow species. However, the number of additional species, for example, forest species, was higher in shade from solitary trees than in the open; the areas under the crowns may have functioned as refuges for forest species in former days, when wooded hay meadows, comprising small woodlots, solitary trees and shrubs, were widespread in the region. Indicators of traditional management were more frequent in dry plots than in moist plots, but most species in this group occurred in moist plots too. To keep the habitat area for these species as large as possible and at the same time restore the former well-managed tree-layer of the meadow, the removal of large Fraxinus excelsior and Alnus incana specimens from the upper slopes and reduction of the crowns of solitary Taxus baccata and Prunus domesticus on the lower slopes is recommended.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Botanical Institute, University of Bergen, Allégt. 41, NO-5007 Bergen, Norway

Publication date: August 8, 2000


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