Successional pattern, stand structure and regeneration of forest vegetation according to local environmental gradients
Ecologia Balkanica 2013; 5(1) : 69-85
Despite the attempted botanical and ecological studies so far, integrated picture of successful and regenerative pattern of the forest vegetation in the studied area have not been achieved. Moreover, stand composition and development of these forests have never been studied in the context of environmental gradients. This study aims to integrate and clarify the accumulated knowledge about the successful pattern, stand structure and regeneration in the studied territory. It has also attempted to test some classical viewpoints about the forest vegetation pattern, placed in the context of environmental gradients. We hypothesized that most forest stands will follow the normal diameter distribution. Gradient-transect sampling procedure was used. Accumulated field samples were classified using TWINSPAN clustering method. Obtained forest community types were tested for consistency. Distribution of stand stem number by diameter classes was tested with Shapiro-Wilk test for normality. Stand successful distribution followed its own trajectory and no convergence has been found. All stands had normal diameter distribution and compromised seed regeneration, i.e. they were in “stagnant” condition. Dominant trees also had normal stem distribution except beech stands from the most xeric habitats, but this was due to their sprouting regeneration. We hypothesized that this regeneration pattern is due to erroneous management and lack of major natural disturbances in the area during the last decades, which could have drew the stands from “stagnancy” and restart the seed regeneration. If this tendency is maintained we suppose that it will lead to continuing degradation of local forest vegetation.