Successional pathways in Swiss mountain forest reserves
2012 (English)In: European Journal of Forest Research, ISSN 1612-4669, E-ISSN 1612-4677, Vol. 131, no 2, 503-518 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Knowledge on the natural dynamics of Norway spruce-European silver fir forests is scarce, but is of high importance for the sustainable management of these ecosystems. Using a unique data set from five forest reserves in the Swiss Alps that covers up to 35 years, we elucidated communalities and differences in stand structure and species composition across the reserves and over time and investigated the role of site conditions versus intrinsic forest dynamics. For the early and late successional phases, we found a clear relationship between stand structure (diameter distributions) and species composition. Two pathways of early succession were evident as a function of the disturbance regime. Thus, the spatial extent of disturbances in spruce-fir forests strongly determines the pathway in early succession. Contrary to earlier descriptions of clearly distinguishable optima phases, our data did not reveal a relationship between stand structure and species composition for the early, mid-, and late optimum phases. Although the reserves investigated here are characterized by highly different climatic and soil conditions, their temporal development was found to fit well into a single successional scheme, suggesting that in spruce-fir mountain forests, the life-history strategies of the tree species may have a stronger influence on successional trajectories than site conditions per se.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 131, no 2, 503-518 p.
Abies alba; Forest succession; Long-term forest monitoring; Mountain forest; Picea abies; Structural development; Succession theory; Temporal dynamics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100474DOI: 10.1007/s10342-011-0525-1ISI: 000301088000021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-100474DiVA: diva2:792313