, Volume 212, Issue 4, pp 573-584
Date: 02 Oct 2010

Can tree species choice influence recruitment of ancient forest species in post-agricultural forest?

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Germination and establishment of ancient forest species are bottlenecks in forest habitat restoration. We hypothesised that tree species can influence these processes on acidification sensitive soils through their effects on the soil. Seeds of seven ancient forest species were sown in soil collected in a post-agricultural forest under four different tree species, notably Acer pseudoplatanus, Alnus glutinosa, Fagus sylvatica and Populus x euramericana. Germination of four species was affected by tree species, while only Scilla non-scripta was indifferent and germination of Anemone nemorosa and Paris quadrifolia was unsuccessful. The acid intolerant Primula elatior only germinated in the soil of P. x euramericana but also the acid tolerant Lonicera periclymenum and Stellaria holostea performed best in the soil of P. x euramericana and worst in the soil of A. glutinosa. Lamium galeobdolon preferred the soil of A. pseudoplatanus. Germination of competitive seed bank species was much more successful in the soil of P. x euramericana than in soil of other tree species. From our results we deduce that tree species selection can affect germination of ancient forest species. Forest managers should be aware of the effects of tree species on their colonisation chances and favour trees with good decomposable litter especially on acidification sensitive soils.