Establishment and growth of hawthorn in floodplains in the Netherlands

M. Decuyper, P. Cornelissen, U.G.W. Sass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Dendrochronology was used to assess the influence of soil conditions, elevation and related inundation, climate fluctuations and vegetation cover on the establishment and growth of hawthorn in non-grazed river floodplains. Presence of forest influences the discharge capacity of the floodplain, therefore forest development needs to be considered in management plans. Although ring detection in hawthorn is difficult, clear dynamics in establishment and growth of this shrub species were found. Establishment was mainly influenced by inundation (length and height). The effect of inundation on establishment is location dependent; positive due to transport and deposition of seeds in higher areas, and negative due to drowning of young plants in lower locations. Extreme climatic events were found to influence establishment including a drought in 2003 and relatively low and high precipitation in 2004–2006 and 2007 respectively. These events combined with almost no inundation caused some anomalies in the time series for hawthorn establishment. Once above a certain height, hawthorn is able to withstand various abiotic disturbances occurring in these dynamic river floodplains. Excavated areas are enhancing forest development following hawthorn establishment and therefore these areas should be limited in size (e.g. by deeper and narrower excavations and thus a steeper transition towards the grasslands).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-180
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • climate-change
  • cassiope-tetragona
  • summer temperature
  • north wales
  • dwarf shrub
  • trees
  • vegetation
  • dynamics
  • recovery
  • drought


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