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Appendix S1. Sampling and germination protocols applied by the various studies.

Appendix S2. Extensions of Tables 2 and 3, showing the main effect of the random/fixed factor location in the linear mixed models/generalized linear models.

Appendix S3. Boxplots illustrating the fixed effect of pH during post-agricultural succession on seed bank characteristics: (a) species richness, (c) seed density without Juncus effusus, (d) the competitive, (e) stress-tolerant and (f) ruderal seed bank signature, (g) percentage of ancient forest species, (h) average seed weight, (i) the Raup and Crick vegetation–seed bank dissimilarity and (j) the percentage of annuals and biennials in the seed bank.

Photo S1. Seedling of Potentilla sterilis (L.) Garcke. A typical ancient forest species (sensu Hermy et al. 1999) with the capacity to build up a persistent seed bank. Potentilla sterilis (L.) Garcke was recovered in several seed bank studies, such as Van Calster et al. (2007), Plue et al. (in press), and contributes to the overall rise in ancient forest species with time since the last disturbance in managed temperate deciduous forest.

Photo S2. Seedling of Gnaphalium sylvaticum L. A typical early-successional forest species appearing on forest clear-cuts and forest road verges, with the capacity to build up an apparently long-term persistent seed bank. Gnaphalium sylvaticum was recovered in several seed bank studies, such as Ludemann (1994), Van Calster et al. (2007) and Plue et al. (in press), and may be considered a species that seems adequately adapted to the natural disturbance regime in temperate deciduous forest, occupying its own narrow temporal niche in forest succession.

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