Advance regeneration and seed banking of woody plants in Ohio pine plantations: Implications for landscape change
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Silviculturally-managed pine plantations within southern Ohio are chronically disturbed patches of introduced vegetation distinct from the surrounding matrix of hardwood forest. To determine the successional pathways by which such pine stands might blend back into the hardwood forest matrix under different types of silvicultural management, we determined the current status of hardwood regeneration under 24 pine stands. Stands of Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine) had the highest density of hardwood seedlings and saplings (20,560 stems ha-1) whereas P. strobus (white pine) stands averaged only 7090 hardwood stems ha-1; P. resinosa (red pine) stands were intermediate. The most abundant hardwood seedling and sapling species under pine canopies were Acer rubrum and Cornus florida. DCA ordination of the seedling + sapling assemblages clustered most of the P. resinosa and P. strobus stands in the center of the ordination along with a group of species which are common in second-growth forests of the area. P. virginiana stands, in contrast, were scattered throughout the ordination space. Most of the woody species common in second-growth forests of the region were also common in the pine understory. Multiple regression indicated that large plantations with deeper litter, higher soil pH and lower total hardwood density had the greatest abundance of mesic-site species in the understory. This relationship did not hold for P. resinosa stands, however, due to more frequent and intense silvicultural intervention. The seed bank was not an important source of woody seedlings to the understory assemblage under intact pine plantations. The vegetation of 1–4 yr old clear-cut sites was dominated by wind and bird dispersed species which were generally absent from the understory of intact plantations. We conclude these chronically disturbed planted patches will revert to matrix vegetation faster if the disturbance is allowed to end in a gradual manner through stand senescence than if it is abruptly ended by clear-cutting.
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- Advance regeneration and seed banking of woody plants in Ohio pine plantations: Implications for landscape change
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