The understorey vascular plant cover and its relations with the overstorey tree species and site properties in young silver birch and hybrid aspen plantations were studied. Understorey vegetation was similar in both plantation types in terms of species richness, diversity, sensitivity to human impact, life-span and habitat preference. Nevertheless, in denser silver birch plantations some signs indicated a faster vegetation development overall, e.g., a higher share of shade tolerant plant species. The concentration of total N was higher in the humus layer of silver birch plantations consequently affecting the nutritional status of the understorey vegetation. The significant impact of the plantation type on the understorey vegetation was confirmed by the NMDS analysis. The hypothesis that semi-exotic hybrid aspen plantations may support the spread of alien species or may show a tendency towards smaller indigenous species richness was not confirmed. Irrespective of the overstorey tree species, a strong previous land use impact, i.e. disturbance history, on the ground vegetation was eminent.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4