Current issue: 54(2)
According to studies following the development of vegetation of drained peatlands, it seems that they have transformed to a relatively stable plant communities during the succession. In earlier studies it was assumed that after drainage a mire type would develop to a corresponding forest site. This investigation studies what kinds of plant communities are formed during succession of different mire types on peatlands drained for forestry in the southern half of Finland. Understorey vegetation was studied in 18 sample plots established by Forest Research Institute on drained peatlands. In addition, sample plots were studied on peatlands in natural state.
The results suggest that understorey vegetation on peatlands drained for forestry have developed into plant communities, the most advanced of which are the so-called dry plant communities. They represent transformed site types, which are the following: drained peatlands with upland herb-rich vegetation, drained peatlands with upland grass-herb vegetation, drained peatlands with upland Myrtillus site type vegetation, drained peatlands with upland Vaccinium site type vegetation, and drained peatlands with upland Calluna site type vegetation. Drained peatlands with upland Cladonia site type vegetation seem to be a temporary type caused by incomplete drainage. The transition between Myrtillus and Vaccinium dominated dry plant communities is not clear, but especially the pure Vaccinium vitis-ideae communities justify its place as an independent plant community. The dry drwarf shrub plant communities are also stable.
The PDF includes a summary in German.
The vegetation and number of physical and chemical soil properties were studied on a random sample of closed upland forest stands in Southern Finland. The material consists of a total of 410 sample plots. Two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) was carried out in order to produce a hierarchical clustering of samples on the basis of the vegetation data. Discriminant analysis and analysis of variance were applied in order to find environmental correlations of the vegetation clustering.
The vegetation was found to indicate the nutrient regime of the humus layer well, but to a less extent the properties of the sub-soil. The understorey vegetation was found to be jointly dependent on the site fertility and on the properties of the tree stand, especially on the tree species composition. Although the forest vegetation appears to be distributed rather continuously along an axis of increasing site fertility, relatively unambiguous classification can be based on the appearance of indicator species and species groups.
The results of the study were interpreted as indication that operational site classification done using the vegetation is rather good method for classification in closed forest stands. Different methods produce relatively consistent, natural and ecologically interpretable classifications. The results also imply that the vegetation cover and the humus layer develop concurrently during the development of the ecosystem, but the differentiation of the site type is regulated simultaneously by a number of interacting factors ranging from mineralogical properties of the parent material to the topographical exposition of the site. As the plant cover depicts all these primary factors simultaneously, only a relatively rough ecological site classification can be based on the vegetation.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.