Title: Effects of coppicing on demographic structure, fruit and seed set in Orchis mascula
Authors: Jacquemyn, Hans ×
Brys, Rein
Honnay, Olivier
Hermy, Martin #
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Urban & Fischer
Series Title: Basic and Applied Ecology vol:9 issue:4 pages:392-400
Abstract: Opening of the forest canopy may result in higher fitness of understory plants due to increased light intensity on the
forest soil and increased nutrient availability. Especially, tuberous orchids may profit from increased light as
photosynthetic assimilation products and nutrients are accumulated in their belowground storage organs. We
investigated the effects of coppicing on demographic structure and fruit and seed set in 15 populations of the tuberous,
perennial orchid Orchis mascula, seven of which were located in undisturbed, shaded woodland and eight in recently
coppiced woodland. Coppicing resulted in a massive increase in flowering and in increased fruit set. On average, 42.9%
of all individuals consisted of flowering plants in coppiced woodland, whereas in undisturbed woodland only 20.8% of
all individuals flowered. The percentage fruit set varied between 20%and 55% in coppiced woodland and was strongly
related to population size (measured as the number of flowering individuals). Mean fruit weight and fruit size were also
significantly higher in populations located in coppiced woodland than in undisturbed woodland, whereas the
proportion of viable seeds was not related to woodland type. Given that O. mascula is dependent on seed set to fill
space with new individuals, these results suggest that the long-term survival of this species strongly depends on
frequent opening of the canopy.
ISSN: 1439-1791
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Plant Systematics and Ecology Section - miscellaneous
Division Forest, Nature and Landscape Research
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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