Different assembly processes may simultaneously affect local-scale variation of species composition in temperate old-growth forests. Ground layer species diversity reflects chance colonization and persistence of low-dispersal species, as well as fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. The latter depends on both purely abiotic factors, such as soil properties and topography, and factors primarily determined by overstorey structure, such as light availability. Understanding the degree to which plant diversity in old-growth forests is associated with structural heterogeneity and/or to dispersal limitation will help assessing the effectiveness of silvicultural practices that recreate old-growth patterns and structures for the conservation or restoration of plant diversity. We used a nested sampling design to assess fine-scale species turnover, i.e. the proportion of species composition that changes among sampling units, across 11 beech-dominated old-growth forests in Southern Europe. For each stand, we also measured a wide range of environmental and structural variables that might explain ground layer species turnover. Our aim was to quantify the relative importance of dispersal limitation in comparison to that of stand structural heterogeneity while controlling for other sources of environmental heterogeneity. For this purpose, we used multiple regression on distance matrices at the within-stand extent, and mixed effect models at the extent of the whole dataset. Species turnover was best predicted by structural and environmental heterogeneity, especially by differences in light availability and in topsoil nutrient concentration and texture. Spatial distances were significant only in four out of eleven stands with a relatively low explanatory power. This suggests that structural heterogeneity is a more important driver of local-scale ground layer species turnover than dispersal limitation in southern European old-growth beech forests.
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|Titolo:||Ground Layer Plant Species Turnover and Beta Diversity in Southern-European Old-Growth Forests|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Citazione:||Ground Layer Plant Species Turnover and Beta Diversity in Southern-European Old-Growth Forests / Sabatini, FRANCESCO MARIA; Burrascano, Sabina; Hanna, Tuomisto; Blasi, Carlo. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - ELETTRONICO. - 9:4 (e95244)(2014), pp. 1-13.|
|Appare nella tipologia:||01a Articolo in rivista|