Please login first
Decadal dynamics of the ground cover in the coniferous forest – clear-cutting ecotone complex
* 1 , 2
1  Forest Research Institute of Karelian Research Centre of Russian Academy of Science
2  Laboratory for Biological Resources and Ethnography, Institute of Biogeography and Genetic Resources, FECIAR Ural Branch RAS, Arkhangelsk, Russia
Academic Editor: Mark Vanderwel


When the forest is clear-cut, there forms an ecotone complex (EC) made up of the forest, transition from forest to clear-cut under tree stand canopy and beyond the canopy, and the clear-cut per se. Our surveys were carried out in North Russian boreal forests (64.4° N, 41.8° E). We studied how the abundance of vascular plants in the forest – clear-cutting EC changed during the first ten years after logging.

The abundance of Vaccinium myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea declined immediately after tree stand removal both in the open clear-cut and in the EC transitional zones. The projective cover of bilberry declined gradually from the forest towards the clear-cut. The abundance of cowberry in the transitional zones was growing throughout the period of observations. As the tree layer was regenerating in the clear-cut, the abundance of the dwarf shrubs was also recovering.

The average projective cover of Deschampsia flexuosa remained stable in the forest part of the EC and it the transitional zones, not exceeding 2%. In the clear-cut, its abundance grew slightly already in the second year after tree stand removal and reached a maximum in 5-year-old clear-cuts. By the time of canopy closure 10 years after logging, its abundance declined notably.

Epilobium angustifolium in the forest part was very rare, its contribution to the ground cover not exceeding 1%. Its abundance in the forest edge impact area was also extremely low. Fireweed abundance in the clear-cut reached its maximum 3–5 years after logging and declined in 10-year-old clear-cuts.

Keywords: forest edge; ecotone; boreal forests; ground cover; clear-cut; dynamics