Variation in floristic and trait composition along environmental gradients in the herb layer of temperate forests in the transition zone between Central and SE EuropeJanez Kermavnar
, Lado Kutnar
, Aleksander Marinšek
Abstract: Species- and trait-environment linkages in forest plant communities continue to be a frequent topic in ecological research. We studied the dependence of floristic and functional trait composition on environmental factors, namely local soil properties, overstory characteristics, climatic parameters and other abiotic and biotic variables. The study area comprised 50 monitoring plots across Slovenia, belonging to the EU ICP Forests monitoring network. Vegetation was surveyed in accordance with harmonized protocols, and environmental variables were either measured or estimated during vegetation sampling. Significant predictors of species composition were identified by canonical correspondence analysis. Correlations between plant traits, i.e. plant growth habit, life form, flowering features and CSR signature, were examined with fourth-corner analysis and linear regressions. Our results show that variation in floristic composition was mainly explained by climatic parameters (mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation), soil properties (pH) and tree layer-dependent light conditions. Trait composition was most closely related with tree layer characteristics, such as shade-casting ability (SCA, a proxy for light availability in the understory layer), tree species richness and tree species composition. Amongst soil properties, total nitrogen content and soil texture (proportion of clay) were most frequently correlated with different species traits or trait states. The CSR signature of herb communities was associated with tree layer SCA, soil pH and mean annual temperature. The floristic composition of the studied herb-layer vegetation depended on temperature and precipitation, which are likely to be influenced by ongoing climate change (warming and drying). Trait composition exhibited significant links to tree layer characteristics and soil conditions, which are in turn directly modified by forest management interventions.
Keywords: vegetation–environment relationship, floristic composition, life-history traits, herbaceous species, Slovenia
DiRROS - Published: 15.04.2022; Views: 72; Downloads: 60
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A comparison of radial increment and wood density from beech provenance trials in Slovenia and HungaryLuka Krajnc
, Peter Prislan
, Gregor Božič
, Marjana Westergren
, Domen Arnič
, Csaba Mátyás
, Jožica Gričar
, Hojka Kraigher
Abstract: Provenance trials are a valuable source of information, especially in species such as European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), which will likely increase its distribution due to global warming. The current study compares radial increment and wood density of beech provenances in the juvenile development stage from contrasting environments in Europe (Belgium, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Italy) planted at a mesic to wet site in Slovenia and a xeric site in Hungary. Existing data (past measurements of diameters and height) were combined with new measurements of tree height, diameter, dendrochronological and resistance drilling density measurements to assess differences in provenance radial growth. The wood density data were evaluated using a Bayesian general linear model. In order to study the differences in radial increment in more detail, two weather-wise contrasting years (2014 and 2017) were selected from the last decade, based on calculations of the 12-month Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index. The differences in average tree-ring width among provenances at each sampled site appeared to be relatively small when averaged over a whole decade of data. However, according to year-to-year data, some provenances grew faster than others, especially in favorable weather conditions. In unfavorable conditions, the differences in tree-ring widths among provenances were smaller. For most provenances, variation in tree-ring widths within the same provenance increased in unfavorable conditions. The difference between the provenances with the highest and lowest wood densities at both locations did not exceed 5%. The model results indicate that the Idrija (Slovenia) provenance probably has a higher median wood density than other studied provenances at both sites. Although the current study confirmed some differences in wood density between provenances and trial locations, the differences are negligible in practice due to their low magnitude and the fact that the analyzed trees were still juvenile. As beech has a diffuse-porous wood, negligible differences in wood density would also be expected in adult trees. Beech provenances for planting in relation to changing weather should probably be chosen for their ability to survive more extreme weather events rather than to improve radial increment or wood density, especially as the differences in wood density of juvenile trees are relatively small.
Keywords: Fagus sylvatica, tree-ring width, common garden, resistance drilling
DiRROS - Published: 15.04.2022; Views: 66; Downloads: 68
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