Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 45–58 | Cite as

Patterns of functional diversity of two trophic groups after canopy thinning in an abandoned coppice

  • Jan ŠipošEmail author
  • Radim Hédl
  • Vladimír Hula
  • Markéta Chudomelová
  • Ondřej Košulič
  • Jana Niedobová
  • Vladan Riedl


Coppice abandonment had negative consequences for the biodiversity of forest vegetation and several groups of invertebrates. Most coppicing restoration studies have focused only on a single trophic level despite the fact that ecosystems are characterized by interactions between trophic levels represented by various groups of organisms. To address the patterns of functional diversity in the perspective of coppicing restoration, we studied the short-term effects of conservation-motivated tree canopy thinning in an abandoned coppice with standards in Central Europe, a region where such attempts have been rare so far. The functional diversity of vascular plants and spiders, chosen as two model trophic groups within the forest ecosystem, was compared between thinned and control forest patches. To characterize functional patterns, we examined several functional traits. These traits were assigned to two contrasting categories: response traits reflecting a change of environment (for both vascular plants and spiders) and effect traits influencing the ecosystem properties (only for vascular plants). Functional diversity was analysed by CCA using two measures: community-weighted means (CWM) and Rao’s quadratic diversity (RaoQ). CCA models revealed that the canopy thinning had a positive effect on the diversity of the response traits of both trophic groups and negatively influenced the diversity of effect traits. In addition, we found distinct seasonal dynamics in functional diversity of the spider communities, which was probably linked to leaf phenology of deciduous trees. We conclude that canopy thinning affected functional diversity across trophic groups during the initial phase of coppicing restoration. With necessary precautions, careful canopy thinning can be effectively applied in the restoration of functional diversity in abandoned coppices.


coppice restoration effect traits functional diversity response traits spiders trophic groups vascular plants 



The findings published in this paper were obtained though financial support from the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, grant AV0 IAA600050812 ‘Lowland woodland in the perspective of historical development’, and from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, grant CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0267 ‘Coppice forests as the production and biological alternative for the future’. Additional support came from the European Research Council, (FP7/2007-2013) grant 278065 ‘Long-term woodland dynamics in Central Europe: from estimations to a realistic model’, from the project MUNI/A/1048/2015, and from the Czech Academy of Sciences, long-term research development project no. RVO 67985939.


  1. Aarssen LW, Schamp BS (2002) Predicting distributions of species richness and species size in regional floras: Applying the species pool hypothesis to the habitat templet model. Perspect. Pl Ecol Evol Syst 5:3–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adrian A, Berryman SD, Puettmann KJ (2009) Understory vegetation response to thinning disturbance of varying complexity in coniferous stands. Appl Veg Sci 12:472–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson MC (1964) Studies of the woodland light climate: I. The photographic computation of light conditions. J Ecol 52:643–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ares A, Berryman SD, Puettmann KJ (2009) Understory vegetation response to thinning disturbance of varying complexity in coniferous stands. Appl Veg Sci 12:472–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ash JE, Barkham JP (1976) Changes and variability in the field layer of a coppiced woodland in Norfolk, England. J Ecol 64:697–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Atkinson B, Bailey S, Vaughan IP, Memmott J (2015) A comparison of clearfelling and gradual thinning of plantations for the restoration of insect herbivores and woodland plants. J Appl Ecol 52:1538–1546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Aubert M, Alard D, Bureau F (2003) Diversity of plant assemblages in managed temperate forests: a case study in Normandy (France). Forest Ecol Managem 175:321–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bailey JD, Mayrsohn C, Doescher PS, Pierre ES, Tappeiner JC (1998) Understory vegetation in old and young Douglas-fir forests of western Oregon. Forest Ecol Managem 112:289–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bartemucci P, Messier C, Canham CD (2006) Overstory influences on light attenuation patterns and understory plant community diversity and composition in southern boreal forests of Quebec. Can J For Res 36:2065–2079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Battles JJ, Shlisky AJ, Barrett RH, Heald RC, Allen-Diaz BH (2001) The effect of forest management on plant species diversity in a Sierran conifer forest. For Ecol Manag 146:211–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bazzaz FA (1979) The physiological ecology of plant succession. Annual Rev Ecol Syst 10:351–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beggs LR (2005) Vegetation response following thinning in young Douglas-fir forests of Western Oregon: can thinning accelerate development of late-successional structure and composition? M.Sc. thesis. Oregon State University, CorvallisGoogle Scholar
  13. Beneš J, Čížek O, Dovala J, Konvička M (2006) Intensive game keeping, coppicing and butterflies: the story of Milovicky Wood, Czech Republic. Forest Ecol Managem 237: 353–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Buchar J, Ruzicka V (2002) Catalogue of spiders of the Czech Republic. Peres, PragueGoogle Scholar
  15. Buckley GP (1992) (ed) Ecology and management of coppice woodlands. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Buckley GP, Mills J (2015a) Coppice silviculture: from the Mesolithic to twenty-first century. In Kirby KJ, Watkins, C (eds) Europe's changing woods and forests: from wildwood to managed landscapes. CABI, Wallingford, pp 77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buckley GP, Mills J (2015b) The flora and fauna of coppice woods: winners and losers of active management or neglect. In Kirby KJ, Watkins C (eds) Europe's changing woods and forests: from wildwood to managed landscapes. CABI, Wallingford, pp 129–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Collins BS, Pickett STA (1988) Demographic responses of herb layer species to experimental canopy gaps in a northern hardwoods forest. J Ecol 76:437–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Collins BM, Moghaddas JJ, Stephens SL (2007) Initial changes in forest structure and understory plant communities following fuel reduction activities in a Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest. Forest Ecol Managem 239:102–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Coyle JR, Halliday FW, Lopez BE, Palmquist KA, Wilfahrt PA, Hurlert AH (2014) Using trait and phylogenetic diversity to evaluate the generality of the stress-dominance hypothesis in eastern North American tree communities. Ecography 37:814–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Decocq G, Aubert M, Dupont F, Alard D, Saguez R, Wattez-Franger A, de Foucault B, Delelis-Dusollier A, Bardat J (2004) Plant diversity in a managed temperate deciduous forest: understorey response to two silvicultural systems. J Appl Ecol 41:1065–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dodson EK, Peterson DW, Harrod RJ (2008) Understory vegetation response to thinning and burning restoration treatments in dry conifer forests of the eastern Cascades, USA. Forest Ecol Managem 255:3130–3140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ellenberg H, Weber HE, Düll R, Wirth V, Werner W, Paulißen D (1992) Zeigerwerte von Pflanzen in Mitteleuropa, 2nd ed. Scr Geobot 18:1–258Google Scholar
  24. Gerisch M, Agostinelli V, Henle K, Dziock F (2012) More species, but all do the same: contrasting effects of flood disturbance on ground beetle functional and species diversity. Oikos 121:508–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goldblum D (1997) The effects of treefall gaps on understory vegetation in New York State. J Veg Sci 8:125–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Griffis KL, Crawford JA, Wagner MR, Moir WH (2001) Understory response to management treatments in northern Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Forest Ecol Managem 146:239–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gundale MJ, DeLuca TH, Fiedler CE, Ramsey PW, Harrington MG, Gannon JE (2005) Restoration treatment in a Montana ponderosa pine forest: Effects on soil physical, chemical and biological properties. Forest Ecol Managem 213:25–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hambler C, Speight MR (1995a) Biodiversity conservation in Britain: science replacing tradition. British Wildlife 6:137–147Google Scholar
  29. Hambler C, Speight MR (1995b) Seeing the wood for the trees. Tree News Autumn:8–11Google Scholar
  30. Hédl R, Kopecký M, Komárek J (2010) Half a century of succession in a temperate oakwood: from species-rich community to mesic forest. Diversity & Distrib 16:267–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hédl R, Šipoš J, Chudomelová M, Utinek D (this issue) Dynamics of herbaceous vegetation during three years of experimental coppice introduction. Folia Geobot Google Scholar
  32. Hodeček J, Kuras T, Šipoš J, Dolný A (2015) Post-industrial areas as successional habitats: Long-term changes of functional diversity in beetles communities. Basic Appl Ecol 16:629–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hutchison BA, Matt DR (1977) The distribution of solar radiation within a deciduous forest. Ecol Monogr 47:185–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kašák J, Mazalová M, Šipoš J, Kuras T (2013) The effect of alpine ski-slopes on epigeic beetles: does even a nature-friendly management make a change? J Insect Conservation 17:975–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kašák J, Mazalová M, Šipoš J, Kuras T (2015) Dwarf pine: invasive plant threatens biodiversity of alpine beetles. Biodivers & Conservation 24:2399–2415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kasal P, Kaláb V. (2015) Arachnobase of the Czech spiders. Available at, Accessed 27 October 2015
  37. Kaye JP, Hart SC (1998) Ecological restoration alters nitrogen transformations in a ponderosa pine – bunchgrass ecosystem. Ecol Appl 8:1052–1060Google Scholar
  38. Kirby KJ, Watkins C (eds) (2015) Europe's changing woods and forests: from wildwood to managed landscapes. CABI, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  39. Kleyer M, Bekker RM, Knevel IC, Bakker JP, Thompson K, Sonnenschein M, Poschlod P, van Groenendael JM, Klimeš L, Klimešová J, Klotz S, Rusch GM, Hermy M, Adriaens D, Boedeltje G, Bossuyt B, Dannemann A, Endels P, Goetzenberger L, Hodgson JG, Jackel A-K, Kuehn I, Kunzmann D, Ozinga WA, Roemermann C, Stadler M, Schlegelmilch J, Steendam HJ, Tackenberg O, Wilmann B, Cornelissen JHC, Eriksson O, Garnier E, Peco B (2008) The LEDA Traitbase: a database of life-history traits of the Northwest European flora. J Ecol 96:1266–1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Klotz S, Kühn I, Durka W (2002) BIOLFLOR–Eine Datenbank mit biologisch- ökologischen Merkmalen zur Flora von Deutschland. Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bad GodesbergGoogle Scholar
  41. Knapp EE, Schwilk DW, Kane JM, Keeley JE (2007) Role of burning season on initial understory response to prescribed fire in a mixed conifer forest. Canad J Forest Res 37:11–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kopecký M, Hédl R, Szabó P (2013) Non-random extinctions dominate plant community changes in abandoned coppices. J Appl Ecol 50:79–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lavorel S, Garnier E (2002) Predicting changes in community composition and ecosystem functioning from plant traits: revisiting the Holy Grail. Funct Ecol 16:545–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lavorel S, Díaz S, Cornelissen JHC, Garnier E, Harrison SP, McIntyre S, Pausas JG, Pérez-Harguindeguy N, Roumet C, Urcelay C (2007) Plant punctional types: Are we getting any closer to the Holy Grail? In Canadell JG, Pataki DE, Pitelka LF (eds) Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing world. Springer, Berlin, pp 149–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lindh BC (2008) Flowering of understory herbs following thinning in the western Cascades, Oregon. Forest Ecol Managem 256:929–936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mason CF, MacDonald SM (2002) Responses of ground flora to coppice management in an English woodland – a study using permanent quadrats. Biodivers & Conservation 11:1773–1789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mason NWH, Mouillot D, Lee WG, Wilson JB (2005) Functional richness, functional evenness and functional divergence: the primary components of functional diversity. Oikos 111:112–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McDonald B (2015) Effects of vegetation structure on foliage dwelling spider assemblages in native and non-native Oklahoma grassland habitats. Proc Oklahoma Acad Sci 87:85–88Google Scholar
  49. McLachlan SM, Bazely DR (2001) Recovery patterns of understory herbs and their use as indicators of deciduous forest regeneration. Conservation Biol 15:98–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mori AS, Shiono T, Haraguchi TF, Otal AT, Koide D, Ohgue T, Kitagawa R, Maeshiro R, Aung TT, Nakamori T, Hagiwara Y, Matsuoka S, Ikeda A, Hishi T, Hobara S, Mizumachi E, Frisch A, Thor G, Fujii S, Osono T, Gustafsson L (2015) Functional redundancy of multiple forest taxa along an elevational gradient: predicting the consequences of non-random species loss. J Biogeogr 42:1383–1396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mouchet MA, Villeger S, Mason NWH, Mouillot D (2010) Functional diversity measures: an overview of their redundancy and their ability to discriminate community assembly rules. Funct Ecol 24:867–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Müllerová J, Szabó P, Hédl R (2014) The rise and fall of traditional forest management in southern Moravia: A history of the past 700 years. Forest Ecol Managem 331:104–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Müllerová J, Hédl R, Szabó P (2015) Coppice abandonment and its implications for species diversity in forest vegetation. Forest Ecol Managem 343:88–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (2015) Děvín–Kotel–Soutěska National Nature Reserve. Available at, Accessed 19 November 2015
  55. Niedobová J, Fric ZF (2014) The Adequacy of Some Collecting Techniques for Obtaining Representative Arthropod Sample in Dry Grasslands. Acta Univ Agric Silvic Mendel Brun 62:167–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ohgushi T (2008) Herbivore-induced indirect interaction webs on terrestrial plants: the importance of non-trophic, indirect, and facilitative interactions. Entomol Exp Appl 128:217–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ohtsuka T, Sakura T, Ohsawa M (1993) Early herbaceous succession along a topographical gradient on forest clear-felling sites in mountainous terrain, central Japan. Ecol Res 8:329–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pakeman RJ (2011) Multivariate identification of plant functional response and effect traits in an agricultural landscape. Ecology 92:1353–1365CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Pearson CV, Dyer LA (2006) Trophic diversity in two grassland ecosystems. J Insect Sci 6:1–11CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Pianka ER (1970) On r and K selection. Amer Naturalist 104:592–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Price PW, Bouton CE, Gross P, McPheron BA, Thompson JN, Weis AE (1980) Interactions among three trophic levels: Influence of plants on interactions between insect herbivores and natural enemies. Annual Rev Ecol Syst 11:41–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Purchart L, Tuf IH, Hula V, Suchomel J (2013) Arthropod assemblages in Norway spruce monocultures during a forest cycle - a multi-taxa approach. Forest Ecol Managem 306:42–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Roscher Ch, Schumacher J, Gubsch M, Lipowsky A, Weigelt A, Buchmann A, Schmid B, Schulze E (2012) Using plant functional traits to explain diversity-productivity relationships. PLoS ONE 7:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Roth RR (1976) Spatial heterogeneity and bird species diversity. Ecology 57:773–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Scanga SE (2014) Population dynamics in canopy gaps: nonlinear response to variable light regimes by an understory plant. Pl Ecol 215:927–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Schmitz OJ, Suttle KB (2001) Effects of top predator species on direct and indirect interactions in a food web. Ecology 82:2072–2081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Schuldt A, Bruelheide H, Härdtle W, Assmann T (2012) Predator assemblage structure and temporal variability of species richness and abundance in forests of high tree diversity. Biotropica 44:793–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Southwood TRE (1977) Habitat, the templet for ecological strategies? J Anim Ecol 46:337–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Southwood TRE (1988) Tactics, strategies and templets. Oikos 52:3–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Spitzer L, Konvička M, Beneš J, Tropek R, Tuf IH, Tufová J (2008) Does closure of traditionally managed open woodlands threaten epigeic invertebrates? Effects of coppicing and high deer densities. Biol Conservation 141:827–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Szabó P (2010) Driving forces of stability and change in woodland structure: A case-study from the Czech lowlands. Forest Ecol Managem 259:650–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Szabó P, Müllerová J, Suchánková S, Kotačka M (2015) Intensive woodland management in the Middle Ages: spatial modelling based on archival data. J Hist Geogr 48:1–10CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  73. ter Braak CJF, Šmilauer P (2012) Canoco reference manual and user's guide: software for ordination, version 5.0. Microcomputer Power, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  74. Tilman D (2004) Niche tradeoffs, neutrality, and community structure: a stochastic theory of resource competition, invasion, and community assembly. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:10854–10861CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  75. Townsend CR, Hildrew AG (1994) Species traits in relation to a habitat templet for river systems. Freshwater Biol 31:265–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Tscharntke T, Tylianakis JM, Rand TA, Didham RK, Fahrig L, Batáry P, Bengtsson J, Clough Y, Crist TO, Dormann CF, Ewers RM, Fründ J, Holt RD, Holzschuh A, Klein AM, Kleijn D, Kremen C, Landis DA, Laurance W, Lindenmayer D, Scherber Ch, Sodhi N, Steffan-Dewenter I, Thies C, van der Putten WH, Westpha C (2012) Landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns and processes – eight hypotheses. Biol Rev 87:661–685CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Valverde T, Silvertown J (1998) Variation in the demography of a woodland understorey herb (Primula vulgaris) along the forest regeneration cycle: projection matrix analysis. J Ecol 86:545–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Van Calster H, Baeten L, De Schrijver A, De Keersmaeker L, Rogister JE, Verheyen K, Hermy M (2007) Management driven changes (1967–2005) in soil acidity and the understorey plant community following conversion of a coppice-with-standards forest. Forest Ecol Managem 241:258–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Van Calster H, Endels P, Antonio K, Verheyen K, Hermy M (2008) Coppice management effects on experimentally established populations of three herbaceous layer woodland species. Biol Conservation 141:2641–2652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Verschuyl J, Riffell S, Miller D, Wigley TB (2011) Biodiversity response to intensive biomass production from forest thinning in North American forests – A meta-analysis. Forest Ecol Managem 261:221–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vild O, Roleček J, Hédl R, Kopecký M, Utinek D (2013) Experimental restoration of coppice-with-standards: Response of understorey vegetation from the conservation perspective. Forest Ecol Managem 310:234–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wayman RB, North M (2007) Initial response of a mixed-conifer understory plant community to burning and thinning restoration treatments. Forest Ecol Managem 239:32–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wellnitz T, Poff NL (2001) Functional redundancy in heterogeneous environments: implications for conservation. Ecol Lett 4:177–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Whigham DF (2004) Ecology of woodland herbs in temperate deciduous forests. Annual Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:583–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wilsey BJ, Potvin C (2000) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: importance of species evenness in an old field. Ecology 81:887–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Šipoš
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Radim Hédl
    • 1
    • 3
  • Vladimír Hula
    • 4
  • Markéta Chudomelová
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ondřej Košulič
    • 6
  • Jana Niedobová
    • 4
  • Vladan Riedl
    • 1
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyThe Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencePalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Zoology, Fisheries, Hydrobiology and Apiculture, Faculty of AgronomyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Institute of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.Department of Forest Protection and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  7. 7.Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations