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Postfire Recovery of a Broad-Leaved Forest in Submountain Dagestan

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Contemporary Problems of Ecology






M A I K Nauka - Interperiodica

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Peculiarities of the forest recovery after a crown fire occurred in 2010 in the beech–yew forest in the Termenlik district (965 m above sea level) of submountain Dagestan have been analyzed. The studies were carried out in 2011, 2013, 2018, and 2019 using a common methodology. No such studies had ever been performed in Dagestan. The sequence and the scale of changes in the species composition, as well as the biomorphological peculiarities of woody plants and results of their competitive interactions, are described. In the first postfire year (2011), the seedlings, root shoots, and young growth of nine woody species were revealed. Within the next 2 years, the number of pioneer species increased to 23, while species richness indices remained very low. An inspection arranged in 2019 showed that the majority of species growing in the vicinities of the studied location have appeared on the postfire territory. The species density index was 0.75 for a sample area with 86 plants (seven species in total) and 1.16 for a sample area with 74 plants (ten species in total). Of 39 species growing in the part of the forest that survived, 16 were absent in the postfire area. In the next years, the species abundance was maintained at the same level (~800 plants per 800 m2), and the number of species increased; the Menhinick index was 1.3. Based on the crown height (0.5‒9 m), ten groups of trees were determined. Groups characterized by a tree size of 4‒5 m or more included two species, Populus tremula L. and Salix caprea L. Groups characterized by tree heights lower than 4 m included five species (Fraxinus excelsior L., Tilia cordata Mill., Сarpinus caucasica Grossh., Fagus orientalis Lipsky, and Acer platanoides L.). A. platanoides (293 plants, Pj = 0.369) was characterized by the maximum number of plants with low height: the height of 95% of trees did not exceed 0.5 m. Due to appearance of new rapidly growing woody species developed from seeds (Populus tremula L., Salix caprea L., Acer campestre L., and Fraxinus excelsior L.) in the tree stand, we supposed a change in the succession trend and the formation of a new transformed intermediate community without the participation of the main dominants of the native forest (Fagus orientalis Lipsky., Carpinus caucasica Grossh., Taxus baccata L., and Acer platanoides L.).