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Forest herbs show species-specific responses to variation in light regime on sites with contrasting soil acidity: an experiment mimicking forest conversion scenarios

Gorik Verstraeten UGent, Lander Baeten UGent, Pieter De Frenne UGent, Arno Thomaes, Andreas Demey, Bart Muys and Kris Verheyen UGent (2014) BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY. 15(4). p.316-325
abstract
Forest conversion from native deciduous forests to coniferous stands has been performed in many European regions and resulted in dramatic shifts in understorey plant community composition. However, the drivers for changes in specific understorey plant species remained unclear. Here, we experimentally determine the species-specific effects of light availability and chemical soil characteristics, on the vegetative and regenerative performance of five herbaceous forest understorey plants. Topsoil samples from both spruce and deciduous stands at four locations, with two levels of soil acidity, were collected and used in a common garden experiment. Additionally, three different light levels were applied, i.e., 'light deciduous', 'dark deciduous' (extra light reduction during summer) and 'evergreen' (light reduction during winter). In a second experiment we evaluated the germination of two of these species against the acidity and tree species at the site of origin of the soil samples. The light regime affected both the vegetative and regenerative performance of the understorey species: compared to light deciduous, Anemone nemorosa had a significantly lower performance under the evergreen light regime, Convallaria majalis under dark deciduous and Luzula luzuloides and Galium odoratum under both light regimes. The vegetative performance was lower in soil from acid sites for the acid-sensitive species G. odoratum and Primula elatior. Differences between the soils sampled under deciduous or spruce stands had no effect on the vegetative, or the regenerative performance of these species. By contrast, the germination of L. luzuloides and R elatior was higher in soils sampled in deciduous stands and in neutral sites. Species-specific responses in vegetative and regenerative performance of adult plants to a changed light regime and soil acidification could be a reason for the changed vegetation composition in converted stands. Also lower germination and establishment of forest understorey species in spruce stands could influence the species distribution after conversion.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
Plant performance, Species-specific response, Tree species effects, Acidification, WITH-STANDARDS FOREST, DECIDUOUS FOREST, UNDERSTOREY VEGETATION, TEMPERATE FORESTS, TREE, LITTER, DIVERSITY, IMPACT, BEECH, ACIDIFICATION, Pot experiment
journal title
BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY
Basic Appl. Ecol.
volume
15
issue
4
pages
316 - 325
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000340140900005
JCR category
ECOLOGY
JCR impact factor
1.942 (2014)
JCR rank
67/145 (2014)
JCR quartile
2 (2014)
ISSN
1439-1791
DOI
10.1016/j.baae.2014.05.002
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
5751467
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-5751467
date created
2014-11-07 10:16:28
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:47:08
@article{5751467,
  abstract     = {Forest conversion from native deciduous forests to coniferous stands has been performed in many European regions and resulted in dramatic shifts in understorey plant community composition. However, the drivers for changes in specific understorey plant species remained unclear. 
Here, we experimentally determine the species-specific effects of light availability and chemical soil characteristics, on the vegetative and regenerative performance of five herbaceous forest understorey plants. Topsoil samples from both spruce and deciduous stands at four locations, with two levels of soil acidity, were collected and used in a common garden experiment. Additionally, three different light levels were applied, i.e., 'light deciduous', 'dark deciduous' (extra light reduction during summer) and 'evergreen' (light reduction during winter). In a second experiment we evaluated the germination of two of these species against the acidity and tree species at the site of origin of the soil samples. 
The light regime affected both the vegetative and regenerative performance of the understorey species: compared to light deciduous, Anemone nemorosa had a significantly lower performance under the evergreen light regime, Convallaria majalis under dark deciduous and Luzula luzuloides and Galium odoratum under both light regimes. The vegetative performance was lower in soil from acid sites for the acid-sensitive species G. odoratum and Primula elatior. Differences between the soils sampled under deciduous or spruce stands had no effect on the vegetative, or the regenerative performance of these species. By contrast, the germination of L. luzuloides and R elatior was higher in soils sampled in deciduous stands and in neutral sites. 
Species-specific responses in vegetative and regenerative performance of adult plants to a changed light regime and soil acidification could be a reason for the changed vegetation composition in converted stands. Also lower germination and establishment of forest understorey species in spruce stands could influence the species distribution after conversion.},
  author       = {Verstraeten, Gorik and Baeten, Lander and De Frenne, Pieter and Thomaes, Arno and Demey, Andreas and Muys, Bart and Verheyen, Kris},
  issn         = {1439-1791},
  journal      = {BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY},
  keyword      = {Plant performance,Species-specific response,Tree species effects,Acidification,WITH-STANDARDS FOREST,DECIDUOUS FOREST,UNDERSTOREY VEGETATION,TEMPERATE FORESTS,TREE,LITTER,DIVERSITY,IMPACT,BEECH,ACIDIFICATION,Pot experiment},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {316--325},
  title        = {Forest herbs show species-specific responses to variation in light regime on sites with contrasting soil acidity: an experiment mimicking forest conversion scenarios},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2014.05.002},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2014},
}

Chicago
Verstraeten, Gorik, Lander Baeten, Pieter De Frenne, Arno Thomaes, Andreas Demey, Bart Muys, and Kris Verheyen. 2014. “Forest Herbs Show Species-specific Responses to Variation in Light Regime on Sites with Contrasting Soil Acidity: An Experiment Mimicking Forest Conversion Scenarios.” Basic and Applied Ecology 15 (4): 316–325.
APA
Verstraeten, Gorik, Baeten, L., De Frenne, P., Thomaes, A., Demey, A., Muys, B., & Verheyen, K. (2014). Forest herbs show species-specific responses to variation in light regime on sites with contrasting soil acidity: an experiment mimicking forest conversion scenarios. BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY, 15(4), 316–325.
Vancouver
1.
Verstraeten G, Baeten L, De Frenne P, Thomaes A, Demey A, Muys B, et al. Forest herbs show species-specific responses to variation in light regime on sites with contrasting soil acidity: an experiment mimicking forest conversion scenarios. BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY. 2014;15(4):316–25.
MLA
Verstraeten, Gorik, Lander Baeten, Pieter De Frenne, et al. “Forest Herbs Show Species-specific Responses to Variation in Light Regime on Sites with Contrasting Soil Acidity: An Experiment Mimicking Forest Conversion Scenarios.” BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY 15.4 (2014): 316–325. Print.