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Effects of the overstory on the diversity of the herb and shrub layers of Anatolian black pine forests
- Yılmaz, O. Y., Yılmaz, H., Akyüz, Y. F.
- European journal of forest research 2018 v.137 no.4 pp. 433-445
- Pinus nigra, coniferous forests, environmental factors, forest ecosystems, ground vegetation, mixed stands, mountains, multivariate analysis, overstory, shade tolerance, shrubs, species diversity, trees, understory, variance, Turkey (country)
- Understory plants are important components of forests because they are responsible for the majority of the vascular plant diversity of forest ecosystems. The richness and composition of understory communities are closely related to the tree layer diversity, structure and composition. The aim of this study was to examine the understory diversity of Anatolian black pine (Pinus nigra Arnold subsp. pallasiana (Lamb.) Holmboe)-dominated forests on the Kazdağı Mountains of West Turkey. To describe the overstory structure and composition in a numerically and quantitatively well-defined manner, cumulative abundance profiles (CAPs) of the tree species were used. The resemblance of the sampling plots was classified into five stand types assessing the CAP through the Fuzzy C-Means clustering method. A permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) was performed to test the variance of the community ecological distance between the five stand types, and the results showed significant differences in these clusters. Many shade-tolerant plants were associated with the mixed stands of Anatolian black pine–Kazdağı fir. The composition of the herb and shrub layer could not be explained by the environmental variables but by differences in the overstory structure of the stands. Pure or nearly pure Anatolian Black pine stands were more diverse than mixed oak–Anatolian black pine and Kazdağı fir–Anatolian black pine stands. However, although dense and young pure Anatolian black pine stands had the most diverse plant species in the shrub layer, they were ranked third in terms of the herb layer diversity. The Anatolian black pine–Kazdağı fir mixed stands had the lowest herb and shrub layer diversity. These results allow us to comprehend the relationship between the overstory structure and composition, and the understory diversity. Understanding this relationship is important for the conservation of understory plant diversity in the management of forest ecosystems.