Ecological perspectives for the restoration of plant communities in European temperate forests

Honnay, O., B. Bossuyt, K. Verheyen, J. Butaye, H. Jacquemyn and M. Hermy

Publication Date:

The probability that recently established forest stands develop towards their ecological reference (i.e. ancient forest) depends largely on the possibility of the target species to colonize them. We focused on the colonization ability of forest plant species and particularly on so-called ancient forest plant species. Major constraints for ecological forest restoration are the spatial characteristics of the target site (isolation, shape and area), imposing dispersal limitations, and in the duration and intensity of the historical land use, leading to changes in habitat characteristics influencing recruitment probability. We reviewed the ecological literature with respect to these constraints and conclude that it takes at least a century to restore the understorey layer of recent forests, even when the target stand is adjacent to a well-developed ancient forest.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Biodiversity and Conservation