In Abies alba Mill. stands and mixed stands of A. alba and Picea abies L. (H. Karst), microsites neighbouring the trunks of adult trees were more conducive to A. alba regeneration. Although at the stand level, the effect of Fagus sylvatica L. was positive, the local effect of the adult F. sylvatica neighbourhood was insignificant. Hence, forming mixed stands with a fine-grained mosaic of admixed species might better facilitate natural regeneration of A. alba than monospecific stands.
The establishment of natural regeneration in Abies alba Mill. stands is a slow, spatially heterogeneous and stochastic process. Recent studies based on inventory data indicate that A. alba more readily regenerates in mixed stands than in monospecific stands. The objective was to examine how this positive association evidenced at the stand level operates on the scale of microsites with contrasting local species composition and stand density. In 8 monospecific and 22 mixed stands with Fagus sylvatica L. or Picea abies L. (H. Karst), microsites with a contrasting density of A. alba seedlings were selected and compared in terms of local species composition, stand density, canopy characteristics and topsoil properties. In A. alba stands, seedling density was positively associated with the proximity of adult trees. In mixed stands of A. alba and P. abies, adult trees of both species exerted a positive effect on A. alba regeneration, but the P. abies neighbourhood influenced regeneration occurrence more strongly than the A. abies neighbourhood. In mixtures with F. sylvatica, however, the effect of local stand density and local species composition was not evidenced at all.Although at the stand level, P. abies and F. sylvatica exert a positive effect on A. alba regeneration, on the microsite scale, their influences differ. In stands with a dominance of A. alba, the hampered seedling establishment in gaps may be considered an inhibitive effect that facilitates the emergence of other species.
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Paluch JG, Kołodziej Z, Skrzyszewski J, Bartkowicz L, Gruba P 2016. Regeneration patterns of the late-successional Abies alba Mill.: inhibition in monospecific stands and colonization in mixed stands. Ann. For. Sci.: 1-10. 10.1007/s13595-016-0573-2.