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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1997

Pattern and dynamics of the ground vegetation in south Swedish Carpinus betulus forests: importance of soil chemistry and management

Brunet, Jörg; Falkengren-Grerup, Ursula; Tyler, Germund


The vegetation and environmental conditions of south Swedish hornbeam Carpinus betulus forests are described with data from 35 permanent sample plots. The main floristic gradient of the ground vegetation is closely related to acid-base properties of the top soil: base saturation, pH and organic matter content. Other floristic differences are related to tree canopy cover and the distance of the sample plots to the Baltic coast. Species richness of herbaceous plants typical of forests increases with soil pH. The number of other herbaceous species, occurring in both forests and open habitats, and of woody species is not related to pH. Comparisons of vegetation data from 1983 and 1993 show relatively small compositional differences of the herbaceous forest flora. The number of other herbaceous species increased considerably in those plots where canopy trees had been cut after 1983. The number of new species in managed plots increases with soil pH. Species losses and gains of the herbaceous forest flora between 1983 and 1993 are generally lower as compared with other herbaceous species and woody species. However, the ground cover of herbaceous forest species, especially of Oxalis acetosella and Lamium galeobdolon, was considerably lower in 1993 as compared to 1983 in both unmanaged and managed plots. Possible explanations for this decrease are current soil acidification and drought during the growing season.

Published in

1997, Volume: 20, number: 5, pages: 513-520

    SLU Authors

    • Brunet, Jörg

      • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Soil Science

    Publication Identifiers


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