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Edge effect on ground vegetation in clear-cut edges of pine-dominated forests

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This study investigated the spatial and temporal patterns of edge effect following forest harvesting in pine-dominated hemiboreal forests. The aim of the study was to determine how the edge influenced ground vegetation and how it changed over successional time. The chronosequence approach was used for the description of the succession by taking sites in similar environments but in different periods after cutting. Five transects were established in each type of edge. All ground vegetation was recorded and the percentage cover of each species was estimated. The impact of edge effect to overall species composition was evaluated by canonical correspondence analysis. The variety of species composition along the distance from the edge was highest in clear-cut–mature stand edges. The highest species richness was found at the edges of older clear-cuts. The cover of herb layer was highest in older clear-cuts and young stands. The cover of moss layer was lower in clear-cutting areas than in nearby standing mature stands. Edge influence was still detectable up to 40 years after clear-cutting, when forest interior conditions have not yet formed.

Keywords: Clear-cut; forest dynamics; forest edge effect; species richness; succession

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Ecology, Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Kaunas, Lithuania 2: Department of Silviculture, Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Kaunas, Lithuania

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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