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Open AccessArticle

Unimodal Relationships of Understory Alpha and Beta Diversity along Chronosequence in Coppiced and Unmanaged Beech Forests

1
GINOP Sustainable Ecosystems Group, Centre for Ecological Research, 8237 Tihany, Hungary
2
Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, 2163 Vácrátót, Hungary
3
School of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine, Plant Diversity and Ecosystems Management Unit, University of Camerino, 62032 MC Camerino, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12030101
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 11 March 2020 / Accepted: 12 March 2020 / Published: 13 March 2020
Patterns of diversity across spatial scales in forest successions are being overlooked, despite their importance for developing sustainable management practices. Here, we tested the recently proposed U-shaped biodiversity model of forest succession. A chronosequence of 11 stands spanning from 5 to 400 years since the last disturbance was used. Understory species presence was recorded along 200 m long transects of 20 × 20 cm quadrates. Alpha diversity (species richness, Shannon and Simpson diversity indices) and three types of beta diversity indices were assessed at multiple scales. Beta diversity was expressed by a) spatial compositional variability (number and diversity of species combinations), b) pairwise spatial turnover (between plots Sorensen, Jaccard, and Bray–Curtis dissimilarity), and c) spatial variability coefficients (CV% of alpha diversity measures). Our results supported the U-shaped model for both alpha and beta diversity. The strongest differences appeared between active and abandoned coppices. The maximum beta diversity emerged at characteristic scales of 2 m in young coppices and 10 m in later successional stages. We conclude that traditional coppice management maintains high structural diversity and heterogeneity in the understory. The similarly high beta diversities in active coppices and old-growth forests suggest the presence of microhabitats for specialist species of high conservation value. View Full-Text
Keywords: compositional diversity; compositional turnover; Fagus sylvatica; herb layer; spatial scaling; transect sampling; succession compositional diversity; compositional turnover; Fagus sylvatica; herb layer; spatial scaling; transect sampling; succession
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Bartha, S.; Canullo, R.; Chelli, S.; Campetella, G. Unimodal Relationships of Understory Alpha and Beta Diversity along Chronosequence in Coppiced and Unmanaged Beech Forests. Diversity 2020, 12, 101.

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