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We studied the species richness, diversity, abundance and guild composition of spider assemblages on the hummocks and in the hollows of the alder carr in the Białowieża National Park. We also assessed the effect of vegetation structure and soil humidity on spiders settled in these two microhabitats. The spiders were collected from 10 May until 27 October 2001 by pitfall trapping. The main factor which differed between the hummocks and the hollows was soil humidity. In the case of vegetation cover we found some differences between the microhabitats but it was particularly evident in the case of litter, which was higher on the hummocks. Spider species diversity was significantly higher on the hummocks than in the hollows, but the number of individuals captured in both microhabitats was similar. The collected spiders belonged to six guilds and the proportion of spider individuals in particular guilds was significantly different between the hummocks and the hollows. The most abundant guild in both microhabitats was ‘ground hunters’ and the most numerous species was Piratula hygrophila. Our analyses showed that soil humidity positively affected the number of spider species and the number of individuals. Sampling date strongly influenced the number of collected species and spider individuals. Vegetation and litter cover did not have a significant impact on the spider assemblages. Our findings suggest that research conducted only on hummocks in the alder carr does not reveal the real structure of spider assemblages.
The paper presents results acquired by an analysis of stand structure, regeneration processes and disturbance regime of a mixed natural forest located in the Carpathians (Central Slovakia). The data were collected on two permanent research plots located on different geological bedrocks (andesite and migmatites). Significant differences in the composition of the upper tree layer were observed among two types of geological bedrock. On the plot I (andesite), European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) occurred as a dominant component. An opposite situation was observed on the plot II (migmatites). The coexistence of beech (Fagus sylvatica L., spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) and ash was recorded in the upper layer. The middle and lower layers were almost identical on both types of bedrock. The dominance of beech with the admixture of other tree species was observed. Regarding the structure of the present forest stand in relation to the structure of the gapmakers and natural regeneration, we observed a partial cyclical alternation of the tree species composition of this natural forest within the time span of several developmental cycles. The analysis of natural regeneration implied a crucial role of ungulates for the growth enforcement of ash individuals in the next generation of natural forest. Under the current condition, a negative trend in tree species diversity of the future generation of natural forest towards the dominance of beech was found.
Content available remote Small scale spatial pattern of a soil seed bank in an old-growth deciduous forest
We studied an old growth deciduous forest seed bank to examine how its potential role in regeneration is shaped by natural forest environment. Our research questions were: is the spatial pattern of seed bank influenced by local variation in elevation, soil moisture and light intensity, and what is the impact of herb layer characteristics on seed bank pattern. We recorded species composition of the herb layer and seed bank on a 2 x 40 m study plot divided into 20 quadrates, situated in a natural oak-hornbeam forest, in the Białowieża Primeval Forest, (NE Poland). Soil cores were sampled from two soil layers (0-5 cm and 5-10 cm) yielding altogether 40 samples of a total 15.9 dm[^3] and 0.159 m[^2]. Seeds were extracted from soil samples under a microscope. Ellenberg indicator values were used to characterize light (L) and moisture (F) conditions. Relative quadrate elevation was averaged for nine points. There were 6.65 x 10[^3] seeds m[^-2] in upper soil layer and 3.00 x 10[^3] seeds m[^-2] in lower soil layer. Seed bank structure constituted of patches 6 m diameter in the upper soil layer and 4 m in the lower soil layer. Aggregated pattern of the seed bank was influenced by clumped distribution of plants in the herb layer. Seed bank species richness in the upper soil layer was correlated with moisture (r = 0.485, P =0.03) and light (r = 0.526, P = 0.0172) values. Seed densities were correlated with moisture (r = 0.848 P <0.0001 upper and r = 0.491 P = 0.0278 lower soil layer) and light (r = 0.803 P <0.0001 upper and r = 0.751 P = 0.0001 lower soil layer). Seed density in upper soil layer was negatively correlated with elevation (r =.0.485 P = 0.0422). Higher seed density and species richness of the seed bank associated with better light conditions and higher moisture is probably caused by higher seed production in favourable conditions, and factors promoting seed persistence in soil. Our results indicate, that even subtle changes in light, moisture and mean relative elevation can shape seed bank spatial pattern on a fine local scale, differentiating the response of this community to small scale disturbances present in natural forests.
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