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Diversity of woody plant seedling banks under closed canopy in fragmented coppice forests

Abstract : Seedling banks of woody species established under closed canopy have received little consideration in coppice forests despite their potential importance for natural regeneration. This study aimed to evaluate the influences of canopy composition and of distance from the nearest forest edge on the abundance and species richness of the seedling bank, for different ecological groups of seedlings (age, successional status and dispersal vector) in 68 fragmented coppice stands. Seedlings were found in 67 stands, with 19 species identified. Eight species present as older seedlings were lacking as first-year old seedlings, suggesting temporal variability of species recruitment. Seedling abundances of species with low-dispersal ability were positively correlated with the abundances of their conspecific adults. Seedling abundance of mid-successional species was negatively correlated with the distance from the nearest forest edge, while mid-to-late successional species seedling abundance presented the opposite pattern. Our results showed that woody species were able to establish frequently under closed canopy in these fragmented coppices and form a seedling bank which may be used for natural regeneration.
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Maya Gonzalez, Marc Deconchat, Gérard Balent, Alain Cabanettes. Diversity of woody plant seedling banks under closed canopy in fragmented coppice forests. Annals of Forest Science, Springer Verlag/EDP Sciences, 2008, 65 (5), pp.511. ⟨10.1051/forest:2008029⟩. ⟨hal-01388005⟩

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