European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 511–523 | Cite as

Temperate forest development during secondary succession: effects of soil, dominant species and management

  • Arun K. BoseEmail author
  • Mart-Jan Schelhaas
  • Marc J. Mazerolle
  • Frans Bongers
Original Paper


With the increase in abandoned agricultural lands in Western Europe, knowledge on the successional pathways of newly developing forests becomes urgent. We evaluated the effect of time, soil type and dominant species type (shade tolerant or intolerant) on the development during succession of three stand attributes: above-ground biomass, stand height (HT) and stem density (SD). Additionally, we compared above-ground biomass (AGB) in natural and planted forests, using ten chronosequences (8 from the literature and 2 from this study). Both AGB and HT increased over time, whereas SD decreased. HT, SD and AGB differed among species types. For example, birch had greater HT than alder, willow and ash at a similar age and had higher SD than pine and oak at a similar age. However, birch showed lower AGB than pine. HT and AGB differed among soil types. They were higher in rich soil than in poor soils. Comparative analysis between chronosequences showed an effect of the regeneration method (natural regeneration vs plantation) on above-ground biomass. Planted sites had higher AGB than natural regeneration. Time, soil type, species and regeneration method influenced the mechanism of stand responses during secondary succession. These characteristics could be used to clarify the heterogeneity and potential productivity of such spontaneously growing temperate forest ecosystems.


Spontaneously growing forest Secondary succession Forest rejuvenation Above-ground biomass Stand height Stem density 



Thanks to Dr. L. Vesterdal and his colleagues for helping us with information and data on his paper Vesterdal et al. (2007). We are also grateful for Dr. M. D. Powers and USDA forest service Northern Research Station for helping us with information and data on article Powers et al. (2012). A. K. Bose was a recipient of an ERASMUS MUNDUS master scholarship provided by the University of Eastern Finland and Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arun K. Bose
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Mart-Jan Schelhaas
    • 2
  • Marc J. Mazerolle
    • 3
  • Frans Bongers
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Ecology and Forest Management GroupWageningen University and Research CenterWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Team Vegetation, Forest and Landscape Ecology, AlterraWageningen University and Research CenterWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institut de recherche sur les forêtsUniversité du Québec en Abitibi-TémiscamingueRouyn-NorandaCanada

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