No difference in plant species diversity between protected and managed ravine forests

No difference in plant species diversity between protected and managed ravine forests

Publication date: 15 December 2018

Source: Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 430

Author(s): Jakub Baran, Remigiusz Pielech, Jan Bodziarczyk


The influence of management practices on forest ecosystems is usually analyzed by a comparison of species composition and richness. Different types of management practices increase plant species richness, mainly due to an increase in the number of ruderal and open habitat species. So far, most of the studies have been performed in the forest types that were most common in the studied regions. In this study we focused on broadleaved ravine forests that are spatially limited to specific habitat conditions, including steep rocky slopes with skeletal soil and unstable ground. These forests are local biodiversity hotspots, and, due to limited accessibility, have been subject to only limited management practices, mainly removal of single trees.

We collected a dataset of 215 plots sampled between 1991 and 2015 in both managed forests and protected areas. We used multivariate techniques to compare the differences in the overall species composition. In addition, we compared differences in diversity, structural and habitat indices to find any possible differences. There were no differences in both the plot level and accumulative species richness and diversity indices between protected and managed forests. In addition, a comparison of habitat conditions and different ecological groups, including ruderal and open habitat species, alien species and ancient forest indicator species also revealed no differences. The only significant differences between the protected and managed forests related to the evenness and shrub cover.

We concluded that low intensity forest management in ravine forests resembles natural disturbances, which are characteristic of natural ravine forests. The species composing these communities are adapted to frequent natural disturbances and thus forest management did not influence significant habitat conditions. However, to fully understand the effect of these practices on biodiversity, a comparison of structural characteristics is needed.


via ScienceDirect Publication: Forest Ecology and Management

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