Succession of mosses, liverworts and ferns on coarse woody debris, in relation to forest age and log decay in Tasmanian wet eucalypt forest
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Browning, BJ and Jordan, GJ and Dalton, PJ and Grove, SJ and Wardlaw, TJ and Turner, PAM, Succession of mosses, liverworts and ferns on coarse woody debris, in relation to forest age and log decay in Tasmanian wet eucalypt forest, Forest Ecology and Management, 260, (10) pp. 1896-1905. ISSN 0378-1127 (2010) [Refereed Article]
In managed forest landscapes, understanding successional processes is critical to management for sustainable biodiversity. Coarse woody debris is a key substrate for forest biodiversity, particularly because it undergoes complex succession reflecting the effects of changes in both forest structure and substrate characteristics. The present study used a chronosequence approach to investigate succession of mosses, liverworts and ferns on coarse woody debris following clearfell, burn, sow native forest silviculture in wet eucalypt forest in Tasmania, focussing on discriminating between the effects of forest age and log decay. It also compared successional processes following wildfire with those following clearfell, burn, sow silviculture. Forest regenerating after the latter form of regeneration showed clear ecological succession up to 43 years (the limit of available sites), characterised by increasing diversity and cover, and clearly delineated specialisation among species with regard to successional stage. Analyses of subsets of the full data-set indicated that the effects of forest age dominated this succession, with minimal effects of substrate change independent of forest age. Analysis of within forest microenvironments were consistent with the inference that microenvironmental changes related to forest age drive major successional changes in these forests. Comparative analysis indicated similarity between successional states in post-wildfire and post- clearfell, burn, sow regeneration after 43 years for logs of the same decay stages, and continuing succession on post-wildfire sites to at least 110 years. Overall, these data suggest that management to sustain fern and bryophyte diversity should ensure that areas of forest beyond 110 years are represented in the landscape at appropriate spatial scales. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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