Density and height structure of seedlings in subalpine spruce forests of Central Europe: logs vs. stumps as a favourable substrate
Bace R., Svoboda M., Janda P. (2011). Density and height structure of seedlings in subalpine spruce forests of Central Europe: logs vs. stumps as a favourable substrate. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 87. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.87
Decaying logs and stumps provide an important seedling substrate in natural subalpine forests. However, only stumps present such a role in managed forests. The aim of this study was to assess the differences in the process of seedling colonization between logs and stumps. The study was carried out in the Czech Republic, in two old-growth subalpine spruce forests located in the Bohemian Forest and Ash Mts., dominated by Athyrium distentifolium Opiz and Vaccinium myrtillus L. undergrowth, respectively. Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) regeneration growing on logs, stumps and non-coarse woody debris (CWD) microsites was surveyed. Regeneration (height 0–2.0 m) densities exceeded 5000 individuals per ha on both sites. The average density of P. abies regeneration per square meter of substrate was 0.3-5.7-19.6 and 0.5-3.8-11.0 on non-CWD microsites, logs and stumps, located in A. distentifolium and V. myrtillus undergrowth, respectively. Stumps and non-CWD microsites dominated by V. myrtillus, supported a higher proportion of taller seedlings per plot compared to the small seedlings growing on logs and non-CWD dominated by A. distentifolium ground-cover. The disproportion in regeneration densities between the stumps and the original logs decreased with increasing stages of decay. The tallest regeneration growing on stumps (root-soil plates) was significantly older than that growing on the logs (stems). Based on these two latter findings, the stumps appeared to provide suitable seedling substrates several years earlier than the logs did. Therefore, we conclude that the stumps play a more important role (relative to their covered area, 21–28 m2 ha–1) in terms of suitable microsites for regeneration, than the logs do.
Received 1 November 2010 Accepted 24 October 2011 Published 31 December 2011