, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 109-126

Correlation between stand structure and ground vegetation: an analytical approach

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The effect of stand structure on the diversity of the forest's ground vegetation was examined based on data on permanent sample plots collected in the northern parts of North-Carelia, eastern Finland. Different ordination methods (DCA, GNMDS, LNMDS, and HMDS) were used together with the TWINSPAN classification method. The aim was to construct a basis for classifying forests with respect to the biodiversity of the forest vegetation. Fertility and stand age showed the strongest correlation with the variation in ground vegetation. Other important factors were basal area, tree species composition, and crown cover. These variables were important in the division of the sample plots into different classes. According to the diversity indices, species diversity was at its highest in young stands on fertile forest sites. As a result, twenty-one different classes were formed based on the relative abundance of understorey species. The variables with the highest correlation were used to describe the stand structure in these classes.