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Open AccessArticle

The Legacy of the Past Logging: How Forest Structure Affects Different Facets of Understory Plant Diversity in Abandoned Coppice Forests

1
School of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino, Via Pontoni 5, I-62032 Camerino, MC, Italy
2
Department of Sciences, University of RomaTre Roma, V.le Marconi 446, I-00146 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(3), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12030109
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
Predicting how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning requires a multifaceted approach based on the partitioning of diversity into its taxonomic and functional facets and thus redundancy. Here, we investigated how species richness (S), functional diversity (FD) and functional redundancy (FR) are affected by forest structure. Sixty-eight abandoned coppice-with-standards plots were selected in two mountain areas of the Apennine chain. We performed linear models to quantify the influence of structural parameters on S, FD and FR of clonal traits. Each diversity facet was affected differently by structural parameters, suggesting a complex interweaving of processes that influence the understory layer. Namely, tree layer density influences S, the height of the standards affects the lateral spread and persistence of clonal growth organs, and diameter of standards affects the FD of the number of clonal offspring. Opposite relationships compared to FD was found for the FR, suggesting how clonal traits play a key role in species assemblage. The observation that structural parameters exert opposite impact on FR seems to indicate a counterbalance effect on ecosystem stability. Multifaceted approaches yield a better understanding of relationship between forest structure and understory, and this knowledge can be exploited to formulate indications for more sustainable management practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: clonal traits; functional diversity; taxonomic diversity; functional redundancy; ecosystem stability; assembly rules; environmental heterogeneity; beech forest; standard trees clonal traits; functional diversity; taxonomic diversity; functional redundancy; ecosystem stability; assembly rules; environmental heterogeneity; beech forest; standard trees
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Bricca, A.; Chelli, S.; Canullo, R.; Cutini, M. The Legacy of the Past Logging: How Forest Structure Affects Different Facets of Understory Plant Diversity in Abandoned Coppice Forests. Diversity 2020, 12, 109.

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