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Vegetative reproduction of trees in some European natural forests


Various means of vegetative reproduction in unexploited forests in western Europe are illustrated with examples. Root suckers are sometimes almost the only method of forest regeneration near the limits of tree growth on the Wadden islands and they can play an important role in forest gaps and riverine forests. Trunk suckers finally replacing their parent trees occur in Alnus, Tilia and Ulmus. Partial uprooting of trees, favoured by special soil conditions, was shown to be an important condition for vegetative reproduction. Temporary survival after uprooting gives opportunity for development of reiterative sprouts, that can replace the vertical axis of a fallen tree. Contact of living branches or even whole stems with soil or mouldering logs favours the growth of adventitious roots. Thus vegetatively reproduced individual trees establish before the uprooted parent tree finally dies. Examples of the clonal spreading of trees are given and a special strategy of layering its branches in pasture woods has been described for beech. Modern forestry rigorously eliminates conditions suitable for the vegetative reproduction of forest trees so their abilities in this respect are often underestimated. Vegetative reproduction seems to be particularly important under circumstances where natural growth is difficult e.g. near the limits of tree growth, on dynamic sites and under heavy shade.

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Koop, H. Vegetative reproduction of trees in some European natural forests. Vegetatio 72, 103–110 (1987).

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Key words

  • Adventitious root
  • Partial uprooting
  • Reiteration
  • Root sucker
  • Trunk sucker