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Effect of Site Conditions on the Regeneration of Birch (Betula Pendula Roth and B. Pubescens Ehrh.)
J. W. Kinnaird
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Jul., 1974), pp. 467-472
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2258992
Page Count: 6
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The distribution and abundance of birch seedlings and saplings was studied in relation to habitat conditions at twenty sites in the north-west, central and eastern Highlands of Scotland. Young birches occurred at all sites and the age structure of the populations was similar: first-year plants were numerous and older plants relatively scarce. Few plants survived to the second year and the number of survivors decreased progressively with advancing age. Bare soils and dense cushions of Sphagnum bore the highest densities of seedlings but were sparsely and irregularly distributed. Litter and mosses supported few seedlings, and other surface types rarely had any. Grazing, shading and the slope of the ground had little effect on seedling establishment. Some of the variation between sites in the mean densities of seedlings was related to differences in the proportion of different surface types. It is suggested that much of the remaining variation is due to moisture differences between the habitats. There were fewer saplings wherever there was heavy grazing or a dense cover of trees or ferns. They appeared to survive and develop best in gaps in woodland and on open ground, particularly among heather.
Journal of Ecology © 1974 British Ecological Society