The aim of this paper is to investigate differences in plant species composition between managed and unmanaged forests, and to assess if these difference give rise to a higher plant diversity in the unmanaged forest. Furthermore our aim is to relate forest structure to differences in plant species composition, identifying the structural attributes more strongly related to the unmanaged forest vegetation. We compared an old-growth forest and a managed highforest in the Abruzzo Lazio and Molise National Park (Central Italy). Plant species composition and diversity, deadwood components and live structure have been analyzed. We used permutational multivariate analysis of variance to test the response of species composition to management factor; furthermore, we compared species richness and beta diversity. Redundancy analysis has been used to relate plant species abundances to structural variables; the importance of dead and living wood components has been compared through variation partitioning. Plant species composition proved to be significantly different in the two sites, and the old-growth stand showed a higher plant diversity. From a structural point of view, we found differences especially in the amount and quality of deadwood, and in the diameter class distribution. These variables are also the most important in determining the old-growth stand plant species composition according to redundancy analysis. Variation partitioning confirmed the greater importance of the deadwood variables. Our results suggest that including deadwood surveys in traditional forest inventories could help in finding forests with both structural and floristic old-growth properties to be considered in conservation programmes. The imitation of natural dynamics, through the creation of gaps avoiding deadwood removal, could be an effective strategy for restoring old-growth conditions, also in terms of plant diversity.
|Titolo:||Old-growth forest structure and deadwood: Are they indicators of plant species composition? A case study from central Italy|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|