Ground vegetation

Monitoring of the ground vegetation is a base of forest biodiversity assessment. Recently it was completed with assessment of dead wood and epiphyte lichens.

Monitoring of ground vegetation is done according to the Chapter VII-1 of the ICP Forests Manual, updated in April 2011. Ground vegetation, i.e. shrub layer (E2) – tree species 0.5 – 5 m high, herb layer (E1) – herbs and tree seedlings up to 0.5 m high, and moss layer (E0) – mosses and lichens, are monitored since 1993, systematically since 1995. The aim is to document actual typological and phytocenological characteristics of the ground vegetation, its variability in individual sites, and to monitore changes in time, affected by natural and anthropological factors of the environment. The goal is to describe, explain and try to estimate the process of succession on the base of analyses of causes and mechanisms of vegetation changes. Assessment is done in five year intervals. Basic assessment is done in summer aspect, in some of the plots, of significant variations of the aspects, also spring aspect is assessed. State of vegetation is evaluated using semi-quantitative method of phytocenological snaps. Snapping is done within circle plots of 400 m2 (circle of 11. 28 m in diameter), placed in the centre of the monitoring plot. For each species the coverage and number of individuals is recorded, according to the modified, eight number scale of abundance and dominancy, by Braun-Blanqueta:

  • r – very rare, mostly one or few individuals of negligible coverage
  • + rare (at least two individuals in the plot), observed some times, of low coverage
  • 1 frequent, of low coverage, or less numbers of higher coverage, max. 5 % (often individual shrubs or rarer grasses)
  • 2a – very frequent (abundant) high number of small individuals of the coverage about 5 %, or lower number of bigger plants of 5 – 15 % coverage
  • 2b – same as 2a, coverage of 15 – 25 % of the total plot
  • 3 – coverage 25 – 50 %
  • 4 – coverage 50 – 75 %
  • 5 – coverage 75 – 100 %

For r, +, 1, and 2a mostly number of the population is relevant, for the rest coverage is decisive. In the whole area of 2500 m2also list of other species observed is recorded. Besides, measuring of the average height of individual layers is done and and their total coverage estimated. Also percentage of litterfall and plain soil is estimated.

In all the plots monitored, typological (Průša 2001) and phytocenological characteristics of vegetation are described (Moravec at alt. 1995, Chytrý at alt. 2001). Individual plots were enlisted in vegetation units on the base of potential natural vegetation (Neuhäuslová at alt. 1998). Number of species in individual layers is recorded, as an important factor of biodiversity. Also the relationship of total coverage of the herb layer to the age and canopy of the stand is assessed, and relation of the presence and coverage of individual species to humus and mineral layer pH (CaCl2 method).

In 2011 the manual of deadwood classification was adopted (chapter VII H1), and epiphyte lichens (chapter VI–2). These methods were used before and tested under the ForestBiota and BioSoil projects. Deadwood assessment is based on measuring of all biometric parameters of standing and horizontal dry trees/stems, including stags. Also stamps and big peaces of wood are measured (over 10 cm in diameter). In all parts, level of decomposition is assessed, according to the five-number scale by Hunter (1 – no decomposition, parts of branches 2 – firm wood, starting decomposition, still in bark, 3 – medium decomposition, bark mostly gone, soft surface 4 – fully soft wood, no bark, stem loosing the round cross-section, partly buried in the soil, 5 – decomposed, rotten wood, of no original shape, stems buried).

Assessment of epiphyte lichens is voluntary under the ICP Forests Programme. In CR it was done in three plots only, under the ForestBiota project. In each plot, within twelve randomly selected trees of BHD over 13 cm, the presence of individual lichens is recorded using network of 50×10 cm, in total in 20 plots of 10 x 10 cm, in five square plots placed vertically one over the other, facing the four points of compass, in the height 1.0 – 1.5 m over the stem base.