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Forest floor vegetation in Sweden

impacts of intensified forestry, nutrient addition and changes in forest structure

Hedvall, Pär-Ola (2012). Forest floor vegetation in Sweden. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2012:70
ISBN 978-91-576-7717-4
[Doctoral thesis]

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In boreal forests, dwarf-shrubs (Vaccinium spp.) often dominate the forest floor and are key-stone species in ecosystems due to their importance for nutrient cycling and as a major food source for herbivores. Forestry affects the vegetation both directly through management and indirectly by altering the forest structure. Forest fertilization with N at the end of the rotation period is a common practice in Swedish boreal forests. Even higher timber production can be achieved if fertilization with multi-nutrient fertilizer is applied early in the rotation period, but the effects on forest floor vegetation have not been studied. The objectives of this thesis were to increase knowledge regarding how 1) intensive fertilization in young forest affects forest floor vegetation; 2) background deposition of N influences the effects of N addition; and 3) to relate observed changes in common species abundances to changes in forest structure. Fertilization decreased the abundance of many common forest plant species while only few species increased (I). Surprisingly, also species known as nitrophilous decreased in abundance. Paper I shows that the decrease in availability of light induced by fertilization is a crucial factor behind this change. Consequently, fertilization reduced both species richness, species
diversity and the between site (β) diversity (II). In areas where the background N deposition was low (4 kg ha-1 yr-1), the effects of N addition were larger than in areas
with intermediate (16 kg ha-1 yr-1) deposition (III). Key-stone species among the forest floor vegetation of boreal Sweden (e.g. Vaccinium myrtillus) were found to decrease in
abundance (IV). These species are strongly dependent on aspects of forest structure, such as forest density and age, and likewise, temporal changes in species abundance
coincided with corresponding changes in forest structure (IV). In conclusion, in large parts of Sweden the prevailing forest management is incompatible with a productive forest floor vegetation possessing a high diversity of plant species, and this situation
will only be exacerbated by more intensive use of fertilization regimes. To avoid associated cascading effects from the decreased abundance of key-stone species,
forestry intensity needs to be relaxed on the landscape level which would likely result in a considerable loss of timber production. Compensation for this loss through
intensified forestry on other areas would indicate the need for altered forest zoning.

Authors/Creators:Hedvall, Pär-Ola
Title:Forest floor vegetation in Sweden
Subtitle:impacts of intensified forestry, nutrient addition and changes in forest structure
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2012
Number of Pages:38
IHedwall, P.-O., Nordin, A., Brunet, J. and Bergh, J. (2010). Compositional changes of forest-floor vegetation in young stands of Norway spruce as an effect of repeated fertilisation. Forest Ecology and Management, 259, pp. 2418-2425.
IIHedwall, P.-O., Brunet, J., Nordin, A. and Bergh, J.(2011). Decreased variation of forest understory vegetation is an effect of fertilisation in young stands of Picea abies. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 26 (S11), pp. 46-55.
IIIHedwall, P.-O., Nordin, A., Brunet, J., Strengbom, J. and Olsson, B.Does N deposition affect the response of boreal forest floor vegetation to N addition? (submitted manuscript).
IVHedwall, P.-O., Brunet, J., Nordin, A. and Bergh, J.(2012). Changes in the abundance of keystone forest-floor species in response to changes of forest structure. Journal of Vegetation Science, published online August 1 2012, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1654- 1103/earlyview
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Institutionen för sydsvensk skogsvetenskap, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7717-4
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F40 Plant ecology
K Forestry > K10 Forestry production
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Agrovoc terms:undergrowth, vegetation, vaccinium, forestry, nitrogen, fertilization, bryophytes, lichenes
Keywords:Bryophyte, Deschampsia flexuosa, Eutrophication, Forest understory, Forest undergrowth, Herbaceous layer, Lichen, Picea abies, Vascular plant
Permanent URL:
ID Code:9168
Department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Deposited By: Per-Ola Hedwall
Deposited On:29 Oct 2012 10:21
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:52

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