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Forty Years of Change in Lady Park Wood: The Young-Growth Stands

G. F. Peterken and E. W. Jones
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 77, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 401-429
DOI: 10.2307/2260758
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260758
Page Count: 29
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Forty Years of Change in Lady Park Wood: The Young-Growth Stands
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Abstract

(1) Lady Park Wood is an ancient, semi-natural woodland, which was designated as an unmanaged reserve in 1944. In 1943 part of the wood had been virtually clear-felled, but it was left to regenerate naturally and has not been silviculturally treated. (2) Lime, beech and hazel, and in smaller numbers oak and maple, have regenerated from coppice stools, but the major part of the regeneration has come from abundant seedlings of birch and ash, with smaller numbers of sallow, beech, lime, oak and maple. Regeneration was initially patchy: groups of seedlings were interspersed with open areas dominated mainly by Rubus fruticosus. By 1955 the canopy was closed and subsequently there has been no effective recruitment. (3) As the stands developed there was a rapid decrease in number of stems whilst the canopy initially remained closed. Very few oak saplings survived. A severe drought in 1976 followed by heavy snow in 1981 killed numerous birch and opened many gaps. Beech saplings were subsequently severely damaged by grey squirrels. The initial birch dominance is thus being irregularly replaced, mainly by coppice growth and ash poles. (4) Mature oaks which were left standing in the cut-over areas, have remained healthy. Many of the beech, which were also retained, have died or deteriorated since the 1976 drought. (5) The uneven distribution of tree species regeneration was determined only partly by inherent site factors. Small-scale initial patchiness, due partly to deer browsing, quickly disappeared. The effects of past management will persist. (6) The Initial Floristic Composition model describes the early stages of succession well, but no single model encompasses the whole process.

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