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11.
Evaluating short-term impacts of forest management and microsite conditions on understory vegetation in temperate fir-beech forests : floristic, ecological, and trait-based perspective
Janez Kermavnar, Aleksander Marinšek, Klemen Eler, Lado Kutnar, 2019

Abstract: Forest understory vegetation is largely influenced by disturbances and given local abiotic conditions. Our research focuses on the early response of understory vegetation to various forest management intensities in Dinaric fir-beech forests in Slovenia: (i) control, (ii) 50% cut of stand growing stock, and (iii) 100% cut of stand growing stock. Apart from identifying overstory removal effects, we were interested in fine-scale variation of understory vegetation and environmental determinants of its species composition. Vegetation was sampled within 27 karst sinkholes, which represent a dominant landform in studied forests. Within each sinkhole, five sampling plots, varying in slope aspect (centre, north, east, south, west), were established (135 in total), where pre-treatment (in 2012) and post-treatment (in 2014) floristic surveys were conducted. The sampled understory species were characterized in terms of Ellenberg's indicator values (EIVs) and plant functional traits (plant height, seed mass, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content). Diversity metrics (species richness, total cover, Shannon index) increased in plots where the silvicultural measures were applied. Tree species richness also increased in 100% cutting. A redundancy analysis revealed that species composition was related to environmental variables, which are directly influenced by management interventions (overstory canopy cover, microclimate maximum daily temperature, soil properties thickness of organic soil layer) as well as by topographic factors (slope inclination and surface rockiness). EIVs for light were significantly affected by treatment intensity, whereas soil-related EIVs (moisture, reaction, nutrients) depended more on the within-sinkhole position. Canopy gaps, compared with uncut control plots, hosted a higher number of colonizing species with a higher plant height and smaller seeds, while leaf traits did not show a clear response. We found a negative correlation between pre-treatment species (functional) richness and post-treatment shifts in floristic (functional) composition. Plots with higher richness exhibited smaller changes compared with species-poor communities. Incorporating different perspectives, the results of this study offer valuable insights into patterns of understory vegetation response to forest management in fir-beech forests.
Keywords: canopy gap, microsite environment, Ellenberg indicator values, plant functional traits, compositional resistance, karst topography, fir-beech forest
DiRROS - Published: 06.12.2019; Views: 1911; Downloads: 1048
.pdf Fulltext (1,95 MB)

12.
Effects of various cutting treatments and topographic factors on microclimatic conditions in Dinaric fir-beech forests
Janez Kermavnar, Mitja Ferlan, Aleksander Marinšek, Klemen Eler, Andrej Kobler, Lado Kutnar, 2020

Abstract: Forest microclimate is strongly affected by local topography and management activities, as these directly alter overstory structure. In the present work we analysed the dependence of observed patterns of spatio-temporal microclimatic variations on topographic, canopy- and management-related factors. A forestry experiment was conducted in managed fir-beech forests in the Dinaric Mountains (Slovenia), which are characterized by rugged karstic terrain with numerous sinkholes. In 2012, cutting treatments representing a range in the intensity of overstory removal were performed: uncut controls (CON), 50% cut of stand growing stock (intermediate management intensity % IMI) and 100% cut (high management intensity % HMI) creating 0.4 ha canopy gaps. Fine-scale variation in aspect and slope and its effects on microclimate was assessed by comparing central, south-facing and north-facing within-sinkhole positions. We measured microclimatic variables (air temperature % T, relative humidity % RH) 0.5 m above the ground over three consecutive post-treatment growing seasons. Microclimatic variables showed an increase (T and vapour pressure deficit % VPD) or decrease (RH) with management intensity. Daily Tmax and VPDmax in HMI treatment were up to 5.9°C (on average 3.5°C) and up to 1.4 kPa (on average 0.6 kPa) higher than those in CON treatment, respectively, whereas daily RHmin was up to 22.7 (on average 13.0) percentage points lower. Regarding intra-seasonal patterns, microclimatic differences between treatments were largest during the summer. South-facing plots in the HMI treatment overall exhibited the most extreme conditions, i.e. the highest Tmax and lowest RHmin. Differences in microclimate between treatments were strongly modulated by canopy cover. The results also suggest that overstory removal increases topography-mediated variation in microclimate, as evidenced by significant differences in T, RH and VPD along the fine-scale topographic gradient within the created canopy gaps.
Keywords: tree cutting, air temperature, relative humidity, vapour pressure deficit, karst topography, canopy cover
DiRROS - Published: 08.10.2020; Views: 821; Downloads: 273
.pdf Fulltext (1,59 MB)

13.
The effect of bedrock and species mixture on wood density and radial wood increment in pubescent oak and black pine
Jožica Gričar, Polona Hafner, Luka Krajnc, 2020

Abstract: Wood density and radial wood increment were examined in trees of pubescent oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.) and black pine (Pinus nigra Arnold., subsp. nigra) in relation to stand mixture and underlying bedrock. Trees of both species from pure and mixed stands were sampled across two types of bedrock, limestone and flysch. Trees from each species were similar in age. Wood density was estimated in standing trees using resistance drilling and increment cores were taken from a smaller subsample of trees of both species. Tree-ring, earlywood and latewood widths were measured and compared to radial profiles of wood density. The influence of stand mixture, diameter at breast height and bedrock on wood density was examined using a Bayesian general linear model. Wood density was significantly higher in pubescent oak than in black pine. Stand mixture was found to affect wood density positively, although the magnitude of the effect was relatively small when compared to other influencing factors also included in the current study. The effect of diameter on wood density was positive on both bedrocks in pubescent oak and negative or neutral in black pine. The size of the effect varied by bedrock and species. On flysch bedrock, the influence of diameter on wood density was stronger than it was on limestone. These indirect bedrock effects on wood density are probably a result of different soil fertility rather than the bedrock itself. There was a notable difference in radial wood increment in both species across the two bedrocks, whereas the differences in densities were smaller. Higher wood densities found on flysch in the subsample of pubescent oaks are likely an effect of higher proportions of latewood, while the opposite trend was observed in black pine. Higher wood density was found on limestone in black pine despite higher latewood percentages on flysch. In the context of forest management, the species composition of the naturally occurring mixtures in the sub-Mediterranean region should be adjusted slightly to favor pubescent oak, since it is a climax species and will bind more carbon for longer than black pine due to higher wood densities. Future forest management should also promote the overall development of pubescent oak trees in sub-Mediterranean stands. The results are especially important in the European context, because the share of sub-Mediterranean stands is expected to rise with global warming.
Keywords: Karst, wood structure, resistograph, resistance drilling, Quercus pubescens, Pinus nigra, limestone, flysch
DiRROS - Published: 14.01.2021; Views: 633; Downloads: 25
.pdf Fulltext (1,42 MB)

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