We measured photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) beneath the forest canopy, understory species' richness and diversity, and biomass in a Larix leptolepis plantation in central Korea 4 years after thinning. Four different thinning intensities (control, 10%, 20%, and 40% stocking reduction) were applied in 1997. Mean annual intercepted PAR at 30 cm and 1 m above ground level was significantly different among the thinning intensities and strongly correlated with the number of stems remaining after thinning. Understory species richness and diversity were lowest in the unthinned stands and increased with thinning intensity, and there were significant correlations between the total number of understory species or diversity index (Shannon's diversity index, H′) and the number of stems per hectare after thinning. Also understory above-ground biomass was significantly increased with thinning intensity in both sampling months (June and August 2001). Thinning increased light inputs to the ground and resulted in higher species richness and diversity and above-ground biomass. These results suggested that light availability and understory responses to thinning at a comparable intensity are likely to last well beyond the 4 years of this study.
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Acknowledgments We thank R.H. Kim and J.O. Hwang for their help in the field and laboratory during the study. This research was supported, in part, by the Ministry of Environment (The Eco-technopia 21 Project).
- Larix leptolepis
- Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)
- Species diversity
- Species richness
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