Effects of land-use history and current management on ancient woodland herbs in Western Hungary
Article first published online: 31 JAN 2013
© 2013 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 172–183, January 2014
How to Cite
Kelemen, K., Kriván, A., Standovár, T. (2014), Effects of land-use history and current management on ancient woodland herbs in Western Hungary. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25: 172–183. doi: 10.1111/jvs.12046
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 31 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 12 JUL 2012
- Ancient forest;
- Dispersal limitation;
- Life-history trait;
- Recent forest;
- Spring geophyte
At least half of the European woodland is recent and most stands have been under heavy management since the Industrial Revolution. Woodland herbs have adapted to the conditions of the forest interior and many species occur at lower frequencies in recent habitats as well as in young stands. We compared herbaceous plant composition of forests with different land-use history and looked for life-history traits that could be responsible for the differences.
Bakony Mountains, Western Hungary, Central Europe.
Adjacent old ancient, young ancient and post-agricultural recent forest stands were surveyed in the submontane beech zone in Western Hungary. Frequency data were recorded for herbaceous plants, indicator species analysis was carried out and trait-based species groups were identified.
Species composition differed among all three categories. The most profound difference was in the occurrences of ancient forest species (species with low dispersal ability and early flowering). These were most abundant in old ancient forests, while three species were entirely missing from recent stands. Young stands were dominated by few shade-tolerant herbs and lacked most ancient forest species. Post-agricultural woodland was largely dominated by competitive species.
Current forest management as well as past agricultural use influenced herb composition. Reintroduction of ancient forest herbs might be necessary in the recent forests.