Temperate forest development during secondary succession: effects of soil, dominant species and management

A.K. Bose, M. Schelhaas, M.J. Mazerolle, F. Bongers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


With the increase in abandoned agricultural lands in Western Europe, knowledge on the successional pathways of newly developing forests becomes urgent. We evaluated the effect of time, soil type and dominant species type (shade tolerant or intolerant) on the development during succession of three stand attributes: above-ground biomass, stand height (HT) and stem density (SD). Additionally, we compared above-ground biomass (AGB) in natural and planted forests, using ten chronosequences (8 from the literature and 2 from this study). Both AGB and HT increased over time, whereas SD decreased. HT, SD and AGB differed among species types. For example, birch had greater HT than alder, willow and ash at a similar age and had higher SD than pine and oak at a similar age. However, birch showed lower AGB than pine. HT and AGB differed among soil types. They were higher in rich soil than in poor soils. Comparative analysis between chronosequences showed an effect of the regeneration method (natural regeneration vs plantation) on above-ground biomass. Planted sites had higher AGB than natural regeneration. Time, soil type, species and regeneration method influenced the mechanism of stand responses during secondary succession. These characteristics could be used to clarify the heterogeneity and potential productivity of such spontaneously growing temperate forest ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-523
JournalEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • organic-matter accumulation
  • net primary production
  • pinus-sylvestris l.
  • age-related decline
  • land-use change
  • scots pine
  • carbon sequestration
  • tree height
  • nitrogen mineralization
  • practical implications

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