Composition and structure of regrowth forests on abandoned agricultural land

Volkova I., Solodunov A., Kondratenko L. (2020). Composition and structure of regrowth forests on abandoned agricultural land. J. For. Sci., 66: 436–442.

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Overgrowing of agricultural land by forest in Russia is a large-scale process. This study aims to examine the composition and structure of forests that took over abandoned agricultural lands in Belorechensky district, Krasnodar Krai (Russia). The research on 4 farmland plots was carried out in 2018. At the time of observation agricultural land has been abandoned for 7 to 8 years. Research methodology was developed to determine parameters such as tree and shrub density per ha, height and age at 50 m and up to 100 m from the forest. Two study sites were dominated by mesophytes, whilst the other two sites were invaded by xerophytes. Xerophytic landscapes were co-dominated by downy oaks and dog roses. The stand density of examined plants was 1.7 times lower at 51 to 100 m than near the forest (P ≤ 0.05). There were 3.3 times as many dog roses as downy oaks. The stand density of common ash stand at 51 to 100 m from the forest edge was 10 times lower than that of dog rose (P ≤ 0.01). Mesophytic landscapes were co-dominated by black poplars and crack willows. Black poplar was 4.3 times more frequent than dog rose (P ≤  0.002) and 130 times more common than elm (P ≤ 0.0001). Natural overgrowth or succession can affect vast areas of land. It was established that dog roses and downy oaks regenerate xerophytic fields within 6 to 7 years, whereas mesophytic fields become dominated by black poplars and crack willows within 5 to 7 years.

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