The impact of changes in land use and forest management on the soil seed bank and the herbaceous vegetation of temperate deciduous forests.


At present, soil seed bank research is hampered by a lack in consensus concerning an optimal sampling technique because few studies address this problem. Numbers of samples and the sampled surface area tend to vary between various studies. During the first phase of this research project, extra factors (e.g. time needed for processing, required greenhouse space) will be included to obtain the most optimal sampling scheme for seed bank research in forests. About several factors, such as land use history and forest management, there exists very little research as to how they influence the composition of the forest soil seed bank. Our first objective is to describe and quantify the impact of a single previous other land use (e.g. agriculture), which occured on different points in time. A chronosequence is built up and this will create an understanding into the relationship between the time since the last disturbance and the composition of the soil seed bank. As such, a link will be established between the time of land use change and the variation in seed bank characteristics. Secondly, we would like to gain an insight into the effects of the forest management (Coppice with Standards and highwood) on both vegetation and soil seed bank characteristics. As forest management frequently follows a past land use, these two influencing factors will be hard to distinguish. Nevertheless, by performing seed bank analysis in unmanaged near-natural forests we will be able to characterize both types of effects on the soil seed bank. In a more theorethical approach, the framework for this research is provided by the “Intermediate Disturbance” hypothesis. This model predicts that medium disturbances cause a maximal co-excistence of plant species. This research wants to clarify whether differences in soil seed bank composition confirm this hypothesis or not.


Optimal sampling scheme, Historical ecology, Land use history, Chronosequence, Soil seed bank, Vegetation, Forest management, Highwood, Intermediate disturbance hypothesis


Name Role Start End
Plue, Jan member 2005-10-01 2009-10-01


Name Role Start End
Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation member 2005-10-01 2009-10-01

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web

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