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Bryophyte species density and composition in young forests regenerating after clear-cut logging, wildfire and spruce budworm outbreak
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The disturbance regime in the interface of the boreal forests and the north-temperate deciduous forests in eastern Canada is characterized by both natural disturbances such as wildfires and insect outbreaks as well as anthropogenic disturbances such as production forestry. The current understanding of how understorey plant assemblages respond to different disturbances is mostly based on short-term wildfire-logging comparisons and has traditionally emphasized vascular plants. In this study we explore patterns of species density and composition of four bryophyte guilds in young forests (approximately 40 years old) regenerating after clear-cut logging, wildfire, and spruce budworm outbreak in the Acadian forest region of New Brunswick, eastern Canada. Although being similar in overall species density at the scale of 1000 m2 all three young forest types had fewer species than mature reference forests. All groups were found to be compositionally distinct. Stands developed after spruce budworm outbreaks had the highest canopy closure and the highest amount of coarse woody debris. These stands had similar number of woody debris species as mature forests and an overall species composition that was most similar to mature forests among the three groups. Wildfire-disturbed sites were characterized by a high litter cover, perhaps due to the larger deciduous component of the canopy. A high number of treebase species was typical of these sites. Finally, young managed forest had the highest number of forest floor bryophytes at the scale of 100 m2 among the three young forest types, but was compositionally very far from mature forests in their woody debris flora. In conclusion, young seral stages of forest succession following different disturbances seem to have complementary roles in maintaining landscape level diversity, but if natural disturbances are eliminated certain species (e.g., among the epixylics and treebase species) might become more restricted to older stands in the landscape.

Keyword [en]
boreal forest, bryophyte, Canada, clear-cut logging, disturbance, environmental constraint, recolonization, spruce budworm, succession, wildfire
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Plant Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38899OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-38899DiVA: diva2:317328
Available from: 2010-05-03 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2010-05-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Resistance and recolonization of bryophyte assemblages following disturbances: - detecting patterns and exploring mechanisms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Resistance and recolonization of bryophyte assemblages following disturbances: - detecting patterns and exploring mechanisms
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Disturbances are ubiquitous features of most northern forest ecosystems. The subsequent response of plant assemblages on both short (resistance or not) and long term (recolonization or not) will depend on a number of factors operating at several spatial scales. In boreal forest ecosystems, bryophyte assemblages are a conspicuous and species rich group of plants for which these processes are poorly understood. Using a combination of experimental and observational approaches this thesis explores these questions for closed-canopy bryophyte assemblages in relation to a) microtopography (both for the initial and long-term response), b) environmental constrains during post-logging succession and c) disturbance type. My results clearly show that the shade and shelter provided by microtopographic surface structures can increase survival rates of bryophytes following clear-cut logging by decreasing mortality from microclimatic stress and mechanical disturbance. Following clear-cutting, the recovery of forest floor and dead wood living bryophytes seems to be a relatively steady and progressive process without any major bottleneck episodes in the young or semi-mature forest stages with much of the pre-disturbance composition recovered after 50 years. Although boulders were found to increase the initial survival on clear-cuts and hence increase disturbance resistance, we found no evidence that boulders influenced the subsequent recolonization process. Lastly, strong compositional dissimilarities were found in young forests (40 years) following clear-cut logging, wildfire and insect outbreak, indicating divergent trajectories to occur following different disturbances. Hence, early seral stages of forest ecosystems regenerating after natural disturbances seem to compliment young managed forests in maintaining landscape level diversity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Botany, Stockholm University, 2010. 30 p.
Keyword
Bryophytes, boreal forest, boulders, clear-cutting, disturbance, establishment, insect outbreaks, microtopography, recolonization, resistance, spatial heterogeneity, succession, wildfires
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Plant Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38883 (URN)978-91-7447-053-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-04, Föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-05-11 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2010-05-03Bibliographically approved

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