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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 6;8(12):e82414. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082414. eCollection 2013.

Effects of natural and human-assisted regeneration on landscape dynamics in a Korean pine forest in Northeast China.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China.


Improper forest harvesting can potentially degrade forest ecosystem functions and services. Human-assisted regeneration (e.g., planting) is often used to increase the rate of forest recovery and thereby reduce regeneration failure. Seed dispersal is a fundamental ecological process that can also influence spatio-temporal patterns of forest regeneration. In this study, we investigated the relative contribution of planting and seed dispersal on forest regeneration at landscape scales. Because such influences can be further complicated by timber harvest intensity and seed availability within and around harvested area, we also evaluated the effects of those factors on forest landscape dynamics. We used the forest landscape model LANDIS to simulate the dynamics of Korean pine-broadleaf mixed forests in Northeast China. We considered three factors: timber harvest intensity (3 levels), seed dispersal and whether or not planting was used. The results showed that planting was more important in maintaining the abundance of Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis), a climax keystone species in this region, under the high-intensity harvesting option during early succession. In contrast, seed dispersal was more important during late succession. Korean pine can be successfully regenerated through seed dispersal under low and medium harvest intensities. Our results also indicated that effective natural regeneration will require protecting seed-production trees (seed rain). This study results provide a basis for more effectively managing Chinese temperate forests and possibly other similar ecosystems.

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