Species Composition and Diversity During Secondary Succession of Coniferous Forests in the Western Cascade Mountains of Oregon
Abstract:Species diversity and community composition were studied at 23 sites on similar western hemlock/Douglas-fir forest habitats, in undisturbed old-growth stands and stands at 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40 years after clearcutting, broadcast burning, and planting with Douglas-fir. Vegetation was sampled with three 5 x 60 m transects at each site. Invading herbs, then invading and residual shrubs, and finally conifers dominated through the first 30 years. Late seral species, which account for 99% of cover in old-growth stands, are nearly eliminated immediately following disturbance, but account for almost 40% of vegetative cover after 5 years, 66% after 10 years, 83% after 20 years, and 97% at 40 years. After an initial drop following disturbance, species diversity trends weakly upward with heterogeneity peaking at 15 years and richness at 20 years. This initially high diversity (higher than that of old-growth stands) is short-lived. After the tree canopy closes, species diversity declines reaching its lowest values at 40 years. Only two species were eradicated after disturbance, both mycotrophs. Pacific Northwest old-growth forests are relatively poor in species, but moderately high in heterogeneity values. For. Sci. 34(4):960-979.
Document Type: Journal Article
Affiliations: Research Instructor, Department of Forest Science, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97731
Publication date: 1988-12-01
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