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2013 | 61 | 3 |
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Importance of coarse woody debris (CWD) for moisture control and survival of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) seedlings

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Highly decayed coarse woody debris (CWD) is an important seedbed substrate in various forest ecosystems. In Europe, this particularly holds for spruce forests on shallow soils with insufficient water-holding capacity. Effect of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) seedlings cover on CWD moisture was investigated under field conditions. Our hypothesis was that if CWD provides moisture benefits for successful recruitment and further growth of spruce seedlings, CWD water content should be considerably reduced in nurse logs compared to logs without spruce seedlings. The study was conducted in a natural subalpine Norway spruce forest located in the massif of Poľana (1351 m a.s.l.), Western Carpathians, Slovakia. Six downed spruce logs in advanced stage of decay were selected in the forest, three of them covered with advanced seedlings and the remaining logs devoid of them. CWD moisture was measured by Time Domain Reflectometry during two vegetation periods (2007, 2008). Average difference between CWD moisture in logs with and without advanced seedlings was –0.09 and thus significant at P = 0.02 according to t-test. Based on the tested assumption that throughfall was comparable for both groups of logs, the assessed evaporation of the seedlings cover reached ca 0.73 mm day⁻¹ m⁻² of CWD surface (in the horizontal projection) during one vegetation period. This rate is generally comparable with seedlings growing in soils under unconstrained moisture conditions. The role of nurse logs in the recruitment of spruce seedlings is therefore mainly important on soils with limited water-holding capacity.
Opis fizyczny
  • Department of Landscape Planning and Design, Faculty of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia
  • Department of Natural Environment, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia
  • Department of Natural Environment, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia
  • Department of Natural Environment, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia
  • Department of Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia
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