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Forests 2014, 5(11), 2658-2678; doi:10.3390/f5112658

Tending of Young Forests in Secondary Succession on Abandoned Agricultural Lands: An Experimental Study

1
Slovenia Forest Service, Regional Unit Maribor, RU Maribor, Tyrseva 15, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
2
Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Večna pot 83, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2014 / Revised: 24 October 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 12 November 2014
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Abstract

In Europe the area of forested land is increasing, largely due to forest development on abandoned agricultural lands. We compared the structure and composition of woody species in young stands undergoing secondary succession and within gaps of late-successional (LS) forest in Haloze (Slovenia) to derive management options. In a subset of plots in succession, silvicultural measures were carried out in one half, while the other half was left untreated. The attributes of crop trees and their competitor trees were monitored over five years, and a study on the time investment of tending was conducted. We found lower tree density, a larger share of pioneer and shrub species, and a higher diversity of woody plants in succession compared to regeneration within LS forest gaps. Tending resulted in greater density of crop trees, their better social position, fewer competitor trees, and a larger diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) increment, while differences in crop tree stability and quality between tending and control were not confirmed. Our results indicated great structural complexity and species diversity in young successional forests. Their tending represents a cost efficient method of recovering the long-term commercial value and ecosystem services of forests, if applied less intensively than traditional tending of LS forest. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural forest expansion; forest tending; thicket; pole stand; forest succession natural forest expansion; forest tending; thicket; pole stand; forest succession
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cojzer, M.; Diaci, J.; Brus, R. Tending of Young Forests in Secondary Succession on Abandoned Agricultural Lands: An Experimental Study. Forests 2014, 5, 2658-2678.

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