Succession after stand replacing disturbances by fire, wind throw, and insects in the dark Taiga of Central Siberia
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- Schulze, ED., Wirth, C., Mollicone, D. et al. Oecologia (2005) 146: 77. doi:10.1007/s00442-005-0173-6
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The dark taiga of Siberia is a boreal vegetation dominated by Picea obovata, Abies sibirica, and Pinus sibirica during the late succession. This paper investigates the population and age structure of 18 stands representing different stages after fire, wind throw, and insect damage. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the forest dynamics of the Siberian dark taiga is described quantitatively in terms of succession, and age after disturbance, stand density, and basal area. The basis for the curve–linear age/diameter relation of trees is being analyzed. (1) After a stand-replacing fire Betula dominates (4,000 trees) for about 70 years. Although tree density of Betula decreases rapidly, basal area (BA) reached >30 m2/ha after 40 years. (2) After fire, Abies, Picea, and Pinus establish at the same time as Betula, but grow slower, continue to gain height and eventually replace Betula. Abies has the highest seedling number (about 1,000 trees/ha) and the highest mortality. Picea establishes with 100–400 trees/ha, it has less mortality, but reached the highest age (>350 years, DBH 51 cm). Picea is the most important indicator for successional age after disturbance. Pinus sibirica is an accompanying species. The widely distributed “mixed boreal forest” is a stage about 120 years after fire reaching a BA of >40 m2/ha. (3) Wind throw and insect damage occur in old conifer stands. Betula does not establish. Abies initially dominates (2,000–6,000 trees/ha), but Picea becomes dominant after 150–200 years since Abies is shorter lived. (4) Without disturbance the forest develops into a pure coniferous canopy (BA 40–50 m2/ha) with a self-regenerating density of 1,000 coniferous canopy trees/ha. There is no collapse of old-growth stands. The dark taiga may serve as an example in which a limited set to tree species may gain dominance under certain disturbance conditions without ever getting monotypic.