Canadian Forest Service Publications

Intensive forestry filters understory plant traits over time and space in boreal forests. 2017. Patry, C.; Kneeshaw, D.; Aubin, I.; Kuuluvainen, T.; Uotila, A.; Salemaa, M.; Messier, C. Forestry 90(3): 436-444.

Year: 2017

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36847

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1093/forestry/cpx002

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Plain Language Summary

This paper investigates the effects of varying intensities of forest management practices on plant community responses using a plant functional trait approach. We compared plant traits from different forest management regimes in Canada and Finland, between semi-natural forests, post-cut natural regeneration and intensively managed plantations. This was done to see if trait assemblages varied with intensifying forest management, particularly in areas where intensive forestry has been practiced over a long time such as Finland. Traits characteristic of threatened understory plant species in Finland were used as a reference point. Results showed strong trait filtering along a gradient of forest management intensity. Semi-natural and naturally regenerating forests had plant species that were characteristic of persistence in time and space. In intensively managed plantations, plant assemblages were made up of species that were able to rapidly colonize post-disturbance, with stronger effects observed in Finland. Traits negatively associated with intensive management were the same as those of plants found on the Finnish Red List. These results show that long-term intensive forestry conducted over large scales change understory plant functional diversity.