Biodiversity and Conservation vol:7 issue:2 pages:249-260
Three important parameters of biodiversity in first generation Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) forests on sandy soils have been evaluated: herbal layer diversity, natural regeneration and stand structure. The study took place in the Belgian Campine region, where the original oak-birch forest, degraded to heathlands in the course of time, were finally replaced by monocultures of Scots pine. These first generation pine forests are characterized by a low biodiversity. In maturing stands of this type, however, a spontaneous increase of biodiversity is noticed. Herbal species richness is very limited in all age classes. Different natural regeneration patterns are found. Referring to stand structure, the lengthening of the rotation favours the ingrowth of several hardwood species. As a consequence, the homogenous Scots pine stands are gradually and spontaneously transformed into heterogeneous mixed stands, featuring a noticeable increase in biodiversity. Selected human interventions may further increase biodiversity. The fundamental management principles are discussed: avoidance of major disturbances, lengthening of the rotation period, use of native tree species and natural regeneration, protection of microbiotopes and permanent monitoring.