Primary forest succession on poor sandy soilsas related to site factors
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Three main succession lines are found to occur on poor sandy soils in a blown drift sand landscape in the Netherlands. Site factors – organic matter, parent material, soil moisture regime and relief – were determined. Site types, specific combinations of these site factors, are defined. For five site types succession was studied. The primary criterion for separating succession lines and for delineating the successional stages, was the site factor organic matter and the second criterion, groundwater level. Influence of organic matter on succession was significant on site types with a buried podzol. Species composition on these site types indicated richer sites than the species composition on the site types without a buried podzol. Groundwater level of about 1m with gleyzone was critical for species requiring moist sites. Within a succession line vegetation stages are characterized and the potential forest type is presumed. The stages were related to humus form and soil development. Litter of dominant species was suggested to be the main criterion for the humus form. Initial and older vegetation stages were linked to development of soil horizons. The defined site types, their soil development and relationships with the succession lines clarify spatial and temporal structure and diversity of vegetation, and herewith is the basic information for clarifying the heterogeneity and potential biodiversity of this blown drift sand landscape.
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