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Eighteen years of tree mortality and structural change in an experimentally fragmented Norway spruce forest
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences.
Umeå University.
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2007 (English)In: Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN 0378-1127, E-ISSN 1872-7042, Vol. 242, no 2-3, 306-313 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Long-term experimental forest fragmentation studies remain uncommon, despite their critical role in the advancement of ecological theory and conservation planning. In 1986 five circular forest fragments (1/16-1 ha) were exposed through clearcutting within an old-growth Norway spruce (Picea abies) forest in northern Sweden. Initial responses to fragmentation (1986-1991) showed very high tree mortality and structural degradation of the fragments. In the present study we re-inventoried these fragments to evaluate tree mortality patterns and structural changes occurring over a longer time period (1991-2004). The fragments can readily be viewed as harvest retention patches or 'woodland key habitats' (i.e., set-aside patches of high conservation value), allowing us to make inferences about the effectiveness of these novel conservation tools. Tree mortality rates dropped markedly (to 1.2-3.9%/year) compared to the initial responses, yet remained elevated over those of control plots in the nearby unfragmented forest (0.7%). Mortality increased with tree diameter, resulting in smaller-diameter, more homogenous stands. Mortality also generally increased with decreasing fragment size and was dependent of tree location within fragments. Standing death (45% of dead trees, 1991-2004) replaced uprootings (71%, 1986-1991) as the dominant mode of mortality. Numbers of dying and standing dead trees increased during the second sampling period, further adding to structural change and reduced stand density. Elevated tree mortality resulted in uncharacteristically high volumes of coarse woody debris. Results clearly show that adverse edge-related changes to forest structure and function persist up to two decades after fragmentation. Fragments of this size largely fail as remnants intended to maintain forest interior conditions and late-successional forest structure. However, when embedded within a harvested landscape, they: (1) provide abundant coarse woody debris and snags for deadwood-dependent species that risk extirpation in the surrounding matrix and (2) retain important structures for the developing stands.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 242, no 2-3, 306-313 p.
Keyword [en]
Edge influence, Experimental forest fragmentation, Forest dynamics, Picea abies, Tree retention patch, Wind disturbance, Woodland key habitat
Keyword [sv]
skog biologisk mångfald
National Category
Biological Sciences Ecology Agricultural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-3857DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.01.048ISI: 000246268100024Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-34047127294Local ID: 4127OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-3857DiVA: diva2:28889
Note

VR-Biology

Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The importance of small forest set-asides for saproxylic biodiversity at stand- landscape- and regional scales
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of small forest set-asides for saproxylic biodiversity at stand- landscape- and regional scales
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mittuniversitetet, 2007. 29 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 32
Keyword
boreal forest, colonization-extinction dynamics, dendrochronology, dead-wood dynamics, disturbance dynamics, forest history, fragmentation, metapopulations, national inventories, old-growth forest, picea abies, saproxylic species, set asides, spatiotemporal dynamics, stand reconstructions, tree mortality, woody debris, wood-decaying fungi, woodland key habitats
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-8896 (URN)978-91-85317-65-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
(English)
Available from: 2009-05-06 Created: 2009-05-06 Last updated: 2009-07-16Bibliographically approved

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