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Tytuł artykułu

Ten years of change in ground-layer vegetation of European beech forest in the protected area [Ojcow National Park, South Poland]

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Języki publikacji
Long-term changes in groundlayer vegetation of unique stand of Carpathian beech forest Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum considered partly as a natural succession due to climatic changes and partly as a response to canopy dynamics, were investigated in the Ojcow National Park (South Poland). Species composition and structure of the herb layer in the permanent research area were compared in 1993 and after ten years. About 77% of the study area was changed in this period, but the spatial pattern of distribution and intensity was highly mosaic. The mean intensity of changes calculated according to formula (1) derived from changes in percent cover of species was 42%. Herb cover decreased by about 15%, probably due to the rapid development of natural recruitment of trees in the study area (48% of area was covered by dense tree ecruitment). In the same time the number of plant species and vegetation types (homogeneous vegetation patches of the size at least 1m2, that differed from neighbouring patches in species composition and/or species share) increased substantially. It is probably due to greater variation of light condition in ground layer created as a result of canopy gaps dynamics (the area of windthrow mounds in the study area increased approximately eight times between 1993 and 2003). There was a significant decline of species typical for beech forests, especially of vernal geophytes like Dentaria glandulosa W.K. and Isopyrum thalictroides L. Although it is too early to predict any directional changes, it is possible that the beech forest community will change into the Tilio-Carpinetum association in some parts of study area. Nowadays the expansion of invasive alien species Impatiens parviflora DC. is the great threat to the forest vegetation of the protected study area and the Ojcow National Park. This species in 10 years managed to displace native species in 3% of the study area. The drastic decrease in herbaceous plants cover connected with increase in tree seedlings and saplings, systematic decline of vernal geophytes and typical beechwood species, diversification of ground vegetation structure and composition, and finally occurrence of non-native invasive plant species inform about highly dynamic nature of climax beech forests and generally of temperate forests. Changes are induced probably by both changing climate and overstorey dynamics.
Opis fizyczny
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