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Title: Relationships between overstory and understory structure and diversity in semi-natural mixed floodplain forests at Bosco Fontana (Italy)
Authors: Chianucci, Francesco
Minari, Emma
Most Jannatul, Fardusi
Merlini, Paolo
Cutini, Andrea
Corona, Piermaria
Mason, Franco
Keywords: Deciduous Forests;Functional Diversity;Diversity Measure;Hemispherical Photographyx;Leaf Area Index
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: SISEF
Source: Chianucci, F. et al. 2016. Relationships between overstory and understory structure and diversity in semi-natural mixed floodplain forests at Bosco Fontana (Italy). "IForest" 9: 919-926
The “Bosco Fontana” natural reserve includes the last remaining mixed floodplain forest in northern Italy and one of the most endangered ecosystems in Europe. Its effective management is hindered by the complexity of interactions of mixed-tree species and the influence of environmental factors on understory plant diversity. In this study we analyzed the patterns of natural evolution in semi-natural floodplain forest stands at Bosco Fontana with the aim of better understanding its current natural processes and dynamics. Stand structure, taxonomic and functional diversity, species composition, and leaf area index (LAI) of overstory and understory layers were surveyed in permanent
plots over two inventory years (1995, 2005). The influence of environmental factors on understory plant diversity was assessed using Ellenberg’s indices for light, soil moisture, soil nutrient and soil reaction. Results indicated that overstory species composition varies according to the soil moisture, with hornbeam prevailing in xeric sites and deciduous oak species in mesic sites. Xeric sites showed high functional dispersion in both drought and shade tolerant traits, while it was significantly lower in both overstory and understory in the moist site. Functional dispersion of drought tolerance in the overstory
and understory layers was positively correlated, while species richness
was negatively correlated between the two layers. Diversity in the understory was mainly correlated with soil conditions. Understory LAI was positively correlated with overstory LAI in xeric and mesic plots, while no correlations were found in the moist plot. Overall, our results suggest that site conditions (soil conditions and water availability) are the major drivers of understory and overstory dynamics in the study forest. Hence, local site conditions and the understory should be carefully considered in the management of mixed floodplain
ISSN: 1971-7458
DOI: http://10.3832/ifor1789-009
Appears in Collections:DIBAF - Archivio della produzione scientifica

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