Between 1993 and 1995 we sampled herbaceous layer vegetation on 84 plots in Platanus/Asarum Wet-Mesic Bottomland forests to determine how these forests have responded to human disturbance. Four different disturbance types were sampled (abandoned agricultural are as, clearcuts, group-selection openings, and single-tree selection openings), and uncut 80–100 year-old reference stands were sampled for comparison. Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA), distance analyses (chord distance and normalized Euclidean distance) and similarity analysis (Bray-Curtis similarity coefficient) suggest that agricultural use has shifted herbaceous-layer vegetation composition away from that typical of the reference forests, but that clearcutting, group-selection harvest, and single-tree selection harvest have not greatly shifted herbaceous composition. This shift in vegetation on abandoned agricultural land resulted from a loss of indicator species, such as Cardamine concatenata (Michx.) Sw., Stellaria pubera Michx., and Laportea canadensis (L.) Weddell and an influx of disturbance, exotic, and nonforest species (e.g., Lycopodium complanatum L., Lonicera japonica Thunb. and Senecio aureus L.). However, only two species found in reference stands, Erigenia bulbosa (Michx.) Nutt. and Sphenopholis obtusata (Michx.) Scribn., were missing from clearcuts, group-selection openings, and single-tree selection openings. The species richness values of abandoned agriculture, clearcut, and group-selection plots were generally greater than those of single-tree selection and reference plots. Abandoned agricultural areas had much greater total species richness because of the influx of dry-site, exotic, disturbance, and non-forest species.
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Jenkins, M.A., Parker, G.R. The response of herbaceous-layer vegetation to anthropogenic disturbance in intermittent stream bottomland forests of southern Indiana, USA. Plant Ecology 151, 223–237 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026575219518
- Deciduous hardwood forest
- Detrended correspondence analysis
- Forest management
- Herbaceous-layer vegetation
- Old fields
- Species composition
- Species richness