Distribution attributes of natural canopy gaps in the Hyrcanian mixed-oriental beech forests


Mataji A., Vahedi A.A. (2021): Distribution attributes of natural canopy gaps in the Hyrcanian mixed-oriental beech forests. J. For. Sci., 67: 367–375.

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One of the most important issues indicating the quality and quantity of forest ecosystems is the distribution of natural disturbances resulting in canopy gaps (CGs). The present study was conducted in one of the Hyrcanian beech forests in northern Iran in summer 2018. The gap areas were classified into small (< 200 m2), medium (200‒500 m2) and large gaps (500–1 000 m2) on the basis of full inventory. The univariate Ripley’s L-function was used for introducing the CG spatial pattern. Furthermore, mark correlation function (MCF) and density function (DC) in turns were used for verifying the correlation and frequency of CG size classes in each pattern. The results showed patterns of the gaps in each size class and integrated by the three size classes, they were random and cluster, respectively. Furthermore, the MCF revealed that the gap size classes were independently located in the clusters. The total frequency of the small, medium and large gaps in turns was 32, 49 and 19%, respectively. Although the density share of medium and small gaps in turns was more frequent than the large gap density in the study forest, the results of DC indicated that the frequency of each gap size class was random within each cluster, regardless of their density share. Based on the natural gap aggregations, the base circular mosaic with an area of 5 000 m2 can be introduced for monitoring and specifying the forest stand dynamics.

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