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Understorey vegetation as an indicator of water content in till soils in Finnish Lapland

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Abstract:

Artificial regeneration of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) has been applied to a variety of forest site in Lapland. Occasional failures in regeneration have been observed on sites with high soil moisture contents and originally dominated by Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst). Understorey vegetation was studied on four naturally pine-dominated and eight spruce-dominated sites to determine suitable indicator plants for assessing soil moisture regimes. Soil moisture contents were estimated using the in situ dielectric measurements with radar surface arrival detection targeted to a depth of 0-50 cm. The abundance and frequence of plant species were analysed using logistic regression. The most reliable indicators were found to be Stereocaulon and Cladonia lichens for the dry regime (v<25%), and Polytrichum commune Hedw. and Carex globularis L. for the wet regime (v>25%). It was concluded that the indicator plants found in this study provide an alternative to the traditional Finnish forest site type approach in recognizing high soil moisture regimes.

Keywords: DIELECTRICITY; FOREST SITE; TYPES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827580118425

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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