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“Ancient forest” plant species as ecological indicators of woodland condition in parks and their implications for park restoration

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Author(s): WOJCIECH SZWED | PIOTR SIKORSKI | ANDRZEJ RODZIEWICZ | DARIA SIKORSKA | MAREK WIERZBA

Journal: Rocznik Polskiego Towarzystwa Dendrologicznego
ISSN 2080-4164

Volume: 57;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Wielkopolska | Mazury | country parks | ancient woodland indicator species | old woodlands

ABSTRACT
Presence of plant species, associated with ancient forests (continuous existence >200 years) can be used for assessing woodland biodiversity. The aim of this study is to specify which plant species, included in the ancient forests plant species list, can indicate old woodlands in parks and what plant features are characteristic for certain habitat types. Richest in ancient forest plant species are those fragments of woodlands, which have existed continuously for at least 120 years, and their fragments suffered least from human pressure during that time, whereas recent woodlands are characterized by a small share of ancient forest indicator species and domination of nitrophilous species. Investigated plants usually propagate vegetatively, their seeds are of a small size and they have regularly, densely set leaves. Plants associated with ancient woodlands are good indicators of woodland continuity in parks so they can be used for age assessment in these areas. Accumulation of such plants can be a useful criterion in parks evaluation. Proposed idea of sustainable management of a park space, including selection of areas of a great ecological value, can be a chance to preserve woodland biodiversity.
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