Increasing the intensity of regeneration treatments decreased beta diversity of temperate hardwood forest understory 20 years after disturbance

Key message
In temperate hardwood forests of Southern Quebec, silvicultural treatments of higher intensities resulted in detrimental effects on soil properties, especially in the surface horizon, 20 years after disturbance. This legacy, in turn, affected the composition and diversity of understory plant communities. The more intense silvicultural treatments contributed to the persistence of pioneer species better adapted to a wider range of environmental conditions and resulted in a decrease in understory plant community heterogeneity among sites. Conversely, single-tree selection cutting appeared to be the most appropriate silvicultural treatment for maintaining soil functions and heterogeneity of understory plant communities after 20 years; composition and structure being similar to long-undisturbed forests.

Keywords
Beta diversity; Biotic homogenization; Forest succession; Scarification; Soil physico-chemical properties

Publication
Jaeger, R., Delagrange, S., Aubin, I. et al. Increasing the intensity of regeneration treatments decreased beta diversity of temperate hardwood forest understory 20 years after disturbance. Annals of Forest Science 79, 39 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13595-022-01152-w

Data and/or Code availability
Data are available on a data repository at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6467819

Handling Editor
Andreas Bolte

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