Turkish Journal of Botany




We searched for patterns in species composition and richness of mid-seral communities developed on abandoned charcoal hearths that might be induced by differences in succession progress and forest context. One phytosociological relevé was performed on each of the 22 charcoal platforms located in beech (Anemono apenninae-Fagetum) and oak-hornbeam forests (Doronico-Carpinetum). The ratio of forest understorey to non-forest species richness (F/nF) at plot level was used as a proxy for the succession progress. There was a sharp differentiation of plant communities due to their floristic resemblance with the understory vegetation of the forest type in which they were integrated. Nevertheless, these mid-seral communities still contained a number of nitrophilous weeds that were remnants of the preceding pioneer assemblages. A subgroup of communities (integrated in the beech forest) that lacked the non-forest species mentioned above (high F/nF ratio) could be ascribed to a more advanced seral stage. Species richness on charcoal platforms was not related to forest type, but that might be the consequence of the small sample size. Instead, the number of species decreased steadily with increasing F/nF ratio, which is consistent with the predictions emerging from the paradigm of ecological succession. The forest context accounted for most of the observed floristic dissimilarity between these mid-seral communities. Differences in succession progress seem to be traceable through the number of species, which declines towards more mature stages. The observed communities shared probably the same type of pioneer plant assemblage (Alliario-Chaerophylletum temuli) in the preceding seral stage.

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