Current issue: 54(4)
Under compilation: 54(5)
Pine forests are common in many European regions. Nonetheless, there are only a few studies on regeneration of plant species populations in nutrient-deficient pine habitats. Ancient temperate forests are perceived to be particularly important objects of environmental conservation, due to their ability to sustain a considerable number of rare and vulnerable species. In this paper, we present indicator species of ancient pine and mixed oak-pine forests, together with their trait profiles. Phytosociological relevés were collected from mature stands in the Masuria and Kurpie regions of central Poland. Forest persistence was determined on the basis of historical maps, with the data set divided into three categories. The indicator value of species was evaluated using Tichý and Chytrý’s phi coefficient. Functional response traits of indicator species were identified. Distinct groups of species with a preference for ancient forests can be determined. The dispersal-related traits significantly distinguish ancient forest indicators from other species found in nutrient-poor forest habitats. Since the low potential for long-distance dispersal hinders the establishment of new plant populations in isolated stands, we stress the need to avoid ancient forest clearance and fragmentation of woodland; afforestation should be located in the vicinity of ancient stands. Moreover, as recent forests have turned out to support several rare plant species, to maintain phytodiversity on a landscape level a mixture of ancient and recent forests, both managed and strictly protected, is needed.