Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub

    Description

    Biodiversity conservation within managed forests depends, in part, on management practices that restore or maintain plant community diversity and function. Because many plant communities are adapted to natural disturbances, gap-based management has potential to meet this need by using the historical range of variation in canopy disturbances to guide elements of harvest design. We tested this hypothesis with a well-replicated gap size experiment in a second-growth northern hardwood forest. We evaluated plant communities within and among experimental gaps of differing size, 13 years after an initial harvest. We used a resampling approach to estimate how conventional and gap-based management affect diversity partitioning and species and trait diversity of ground-layer plants. These diversity measures highlight relevant scales and function of ground-layer plants among harvest gap sizes and scenarios. Results from our field experiment showed that, at the gap-level, increasing gap size increased functional trait diversity of plants, while species diversity was higher in gaps than uncut references and maximized in medium-sized (20-30 m diameter) gaps. In harvest scenarios created by resampling our empirical data, we found that at the stand scale, increasing harvest intensity (larger gaps and greater proportion of forest in gaps) increased species richness and variability in initial bloom times, tolerance to shade, and number of life-forms in the plant community. Based on the measures of diversity and function used in our study, our results suggest that size of harvest-created gaps and proportion of forest in gaps can be manipulated to attain biodiversity goals but evaluating the regional species pool and seed sources (e.g., presence of invasives, rare species) will be important to maintain or restore conservation value.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Kern, Christel C.; Montgomery, Rebecca A.; Reich, Peter B.; Strong, Terry F. 2014. Harvest-created canopy gaps increase species and functional trait diversity of the forest ground-layer community. Forest Science. 60(2): 335-344.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    understory plants, species richness, gap size, forest scenario simulation, natural disturbance-based silviculture, additive partitioning of richness, resampling estimation

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/45718