The presence of coarse woody debris in forests is an important naturalness criterion as well as a biodiversity indicator. Decaying logs provide habitat for many organisms including vascular plants. The aims of this study are to describe the colonization of decaying logs by vascular plants in a lowland alluvial forest and to assess the impact of fallen logs on the biodiversity of the herb layer. We investigated 493 logs in the Ranšpurk National Nature Reserve in southern Moravia. For each log, we recorded species of vascular plants rooting on its surface. Decaying logs were characterized by their dimensions, woody species and decay class. Vascular plants rooted on 279 surveyed logs. Decaying logs were colonized by 79 species of vascular plants. Terrain relief was found to be a significant factor for colonizing species. Our study did not find any significant spatial pattern of colonized logs with regard to the distribution of vascular plants, intensity of colonization or the ecological demands of colonizers. The colonization of lying logs by vascular plants was significantly influenced by the species of logs, their surface area and decay class. Species composition of vascular plants on decaying logs and that on mineral soil were significantly different. Demonstrably higher frequencies of Dryopteris carthusiana and Impatiens parviflora were found on decaying logs. The presence of decaying logs and the microsites they create is important for total forest biodiversity including the diversity of vascular plants. We recommend increasing the proportion of decaying logs even in commercial forests.
European Journal of Forest Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 11, 2017
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