Root vitality of Fagus sylvatica L., Quercus petraea Liebl. and Acer pseudoplatanus L. in mature mixed forest stand

The main task of the present study was to investigate the root vitality of common beech Fagus sylvatica L., sessile oak Quercus petraea Liebl. and sycamore maple Acer pseudoplatanus L. in the optimal growth conditions in south-western Poland. The study was carried out in 130-year-old mixed stand located within natural range of studied tree species. The density of roots (g/100 cm3 of soil) and biomass of fine roots (g/m2) in topsoil layers (0–5 cm, 5–15 cm) were determined in the tree biogroups of the same species. The mean total root density ranged from 0.248 to 0.417 g/100 cm3 in the 0–5 cm soil layer, and it decreased in the deeper soil layer (5–15 cm). There were found no statistically significant differences of total root densities between tree biogroups in topsoil layers. Diversity of fine root biomass was comparable in the tree biogroups (H’ = 1.5), but common beech showed more intensive growth of fine roots in the topsoil 0–15 cm when compared to sessile oak and sycamore maple. The results of the study point out the stability of the multi-species structure of the mixed stand studied, and consequently – the ability of beech, sessile oak and sycamore maple trees to coexist in the mixed stands – in the area of natural range of these species.
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