Structural diversity of abandoned chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) dominated forests: Implications for forest management

TitleStructural diversity of abandoned chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) dominated forests: Implications for forest management
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZlatanov T., Schleppi P., Velichkov I., Hinkov G., Georgieva M., Eggertsson O., Zlatanova M., Vacik H.
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Date Published03/2013
Type of ArticleArticle
Keywordsabundance, adaptation, altitude, Belasitsa, Bulgaria, Castanea sativa, community composition, Compositional Diversity, coniferous forest, Crown, Cryphonectria, Cryphonectria parasitica, deciduous forest, defoliation, environmental stress, Fagus, Fagus sylvatica, forest floor, forest management, Forest management practices, Forest succession, Fruits, fungal disease, light availability, Quercus petraea, Reforestation, regeneration, Regeneration potential, species diversity, stand structure, Structural diversity, Succession, survival, Tree crowns, Trees
TagsForest Management, survival, Castanea sativa, Cryphonectria, Forest succession, Regeneration potential, Structural Diversity, Tree crowns, Fruits, Reforestation, abundance, adaptation, altitude, community composition, coniferous forest, deciduous forest, defoliation, environmental stress, Forest Floor, fungal disease, light availability, Regeneration, Species diversity, stand structure, Trees, Belasitsa, Bulgaria, Cryphonectria parasitica, Fagus, Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea, forest management practices, Compositional Diversity, Succession, Crown

Components of structural diversity of abandoned chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.)-dominated and co-dominated forests along an altitudinal gradient in the Belasitsa mountain region of Southwest Bulgaria were evaluated, including: (i) tree species composition; (ii) differentiation in diameter, height and age; (iii) tree crown defoliation and light transmission; and (iv) regeneration composition and abundance. Competition between tree species and its influence on current stand structure were analysed. Lack of management had triggered rapid structural and successional development in formerly chestnut mono-dominated forests which have now been invaded by midseral and later seral vegetation dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and sessile oak (Quercus petraea Liebl.). Distribution of sample plots according to diameter differentiation for chestnut showed positive differentiation values (dominance of chestnut with respect to other species) in 43 of a total of 46 plots sampled. Structure is much more balanced in terms of height differentiation. In the absence of management, chestnut blight has been a major stress factor and is likely an important driver of chestnut decline. The proportion of chestnut trees infected by chestnut blight disease exceeded 80% in 28 plots. Nearly one third (31%) of all sampled trees were characterized by a degree of defoliation of more than 60%. Despite the low levels of light at the forest floor, the density of the regeneration stratum was relatively high (averaging 19,300ha-1). An important finding is the retained regeneration potential of chestnut (31% of all seedlings). Chestnut seedlings, however, appeared to be poorly adapted to shading and rapidly declined in density and growth while seedlings of most competitors survived longer and dominated the regeneration stratum.

Refereed DesignationRefereed

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