Annals of Forest Science vol:61 issue:7 pages:711-719
In the perspective of the conversion of Norway spruce plantations, there is a need for foresters to assess the potential of the natural woody species regeneration. We studied 50 Norway spruce plantations on alluvial soils throughout the Grand-duche de Luxembourg and compared the regeneration characteristics ( species composition, spatial heterogeneity) with 42 riverine deciduous stands ( the target communities). Within the Norway spruce plantations, Fraxinus excelsior and Acer pseudoplatanus were the main regenerating species, probably because of their very good dispersal abilities. Norway spruce seedlings were quasi-absent. Low Norway spruce densities and base-rich soils ( local factors) as well as proximity of riverine deciduous forests ( regional factor) strongly favoured the regeneration of a suite of broad-leaved species. The thickness of Norway spruce litter did not appear to be a limiting factor, at least for large-seeded tree seedlings. The spatial heterogeneity of the woody regeneration was rather similar in coniferous and deciduous stands. We conclude that for the development of multifunctional forests, the spontaneous regeneration under low-dense Norway spruce stands on base-rich soils provides a valuable starting point.