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You are here: Home Research and Publications Projects The influence of the cultivation of spruce (Picea abies) on ground vegetation, humus and topsoil on limestone beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest sites of the Schwäbischen Alb, Germany
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The influence of the cultivation of spruce (Picea abies) on ground vegetation, humus and topsoil on limestone beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest sites of the Schwäbischen Alb, Germany

Summary
Spruce forests are frequently thought of as species poor and associated with the suppression of natural forest species, in other words a loss of biodiversity. The effect of varying degrees of spruce admixture on the ground vegetation is the theme of this study. Research was carried out in 50-90 year old pure beech and spruce stands, as well as variously mixed stands in the central 'Schwäbische Alb'. Few species appear to be strictly tied to pure beech stands. To preserve these species, pure beech forest should be maintained at least in some stands within managed forests. However, the majority of the beech forest species can also be found in spruce stands. Under spruce, the species number increases considerably, because many open land species can be found. Their occurrence can be explained by the higher light intensities under spruce canopies. The increased number of species under spruce canopies does not necessarily mean an higher value for nature conservation. Other criteria like naturalness or rarity must be taken into consideration. A few rare mosses were found to be associated with pure spruce canopies. Therefore, the conversion of all pure spruce stands to mixed stands would result in a loss of rare species worthy of conservation.
 
 
Researcher: Jochen Engelhard
Supervisor:Prof. Dr. A. Reif
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