Changes in the ground flora in Wytham Woods, Southern England, 1974-1991 and their implications for nature conservation (ENRR320)

The ground flora (vascular plants less the 2m high, excluding trees and shrubs) was recorded in 1974 and 1991 from 163 permanent 10 × 10 plots arranged on a systematic grid across Wytham Woods, near Oxford. The Woods cover about 320 ha, are predominantly deciduous, but of varying ages and management types. The total number of species found (173, 167 respectively), the mean richness per plot (16.7, 17.2) and the breakdown of the species list between different species types (ancient woodland indicators, other woodland species, non-woodland species) showed no significant differences between 1974 and 1991, but mean ground cover declined from 80% to 64%. Eight species were common across the whole wood in both years and showed little difference in frequency between areas of different histories and management (Dryopteris filix-mas, Galium aparine, Geum urbanum, Rubus fruticosus, Glechoma hederacea, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Mercurialis perennis, Urtica dioica). Ancient woodland indicators as a group were more common in ancient stands, but some ancient woodland indicators had spread widely in the recent woodland.

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ENRR320, PDF, 2.9 MB 2014/02/14

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