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Evaluating different harvest intensities over understory plant diversity and pine seedlings, in a Pinus pinaster Ait. natural stand of Spain

Abstract

Although modern forestry takes into consideration the analysis of the effects of forest management on plant structure, diversity and seedlings, little is known about how those parameters respond to harvest techniques in the Mediterranean region. We investigated the effect of three different harvest intensities, respect to uncut controls, on understory plant species functional groups, richness, diversity and pine seedlings in a natural Maritime pine stand in Spain, three years after harvesting. The harvest treatments produced a reduction of the number of Pinus pinaster seedlings and woody species cover, and an increase of species richness (total and of annual species) and plant cover of annual species respect to control plots (CO). The Shannon diversity values showed no differences between treatments. These results emphasize that the tree harvest treatments analyzed are not suitable for the management of this P. pinaster stand. Otherwise, the reduction of pine seedling density by harvest treatments and the changes in richness and cover of functional groups would not induce the natural regeneration of this stand maintaining the understory plant layer.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Sonia García-Muñoz, Cristobal Ordóñez and Ana I. de Lucas for fieldwork assistance, and Pilar Zaldívar for species nomenclature assistance. This study was supported by a grant from the Basque-Country Government to J. González-Alday (BFI06.114), and Research Projects from the Spanish Science National Program (codes AGL2001-1780 and AGL2004-07094-C02-02/FOR) to Felipe Bravo.

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Correspondence to J. González-Alday.

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González-Alday, J., Martínez-Ruiz, C. & Bravo, F. Evaluating different harvest intensities over understory plant diversity and pine seedlings, in a Pinus pinaster Ait. natural stand of Spain. Plant Ecol 201, 211–220 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-008-9490-2

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Keywords

  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Herbaceous layer
  • Mediterranean ecosystem
  • Silviculture
  • Woody species