Influence of historical, geographical and environmental variables on understorey composition and richness in Danish forests

Authors

  • B.J. Graae,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Terrestrial Ecology, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 2D, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark
    2. Arctic Station, University of Copenhagen, 3953 Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland
      Corresponding author; Fax +299921385; E-mail bentej@bot.ku.dk
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  • R.H. Økland,

    1. Botanical Museum, The Natural History Museums and Botanical Garden, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, N-0318 Oslo, Norway; The Norwegian Institute of Land Inventory, P.O. Box 115, N-1430 Ås, Norway
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  • P.M. Petersen,

    1. Dept. of Terrestrial Ecology, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 2D, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark
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  • K. Jensen,

    1. Department of Landscape, Frederiksborg County, Kongens Vœnge 2, 3400 Hillerød, Denmark
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  • B. Fritzbøger

    1. Department of Economics and Natural Resources, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Rolighedsvej 23, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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Corresponding author; Fax +299921385; E-mail bentej@bot.ku.dk

Abstract:

Question: What is the relative influence of forest continuity, environmental differences and geographical context on vegetation and species richness in ancient and recent forests?

Location: Himmerland and Hornsherred in Denmark.

Methods: Lists of forest species from deciduous forests were subjected to CCA with variation partitioning to quantify the relative amount of variation in species composition attributable to historical, present geographical and environmental variables. GLM was used to estimate the importance of the variables to species richness.

Results: The importance of temporal forest continuity in one region was negligible but was considerable in the other. The variation in species composition explained by geographical, environmental and historical variables showed little overlap in both regions, particularly at the fine scale.

Conclusions: This paper does not support the idea that differences in the flora between ancient and recent forests is mainly caused by environmental differences. Furthermore, species richness seemed unaffected by isolation and forest connectivity.

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