The impact of road disturbance on vegetation and soil properties in a beech stand, Hyrcanian forest

Azade Deljouei, Seyed Mohammad Moein Sadeghi, Ehsan Abdi, Markus Bernhardt-Römermann, Emily Louise Pascoe, Matteo Marcantonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ‘road-effect zone’ is a concept developed to describe the impact of road construction on the surrounding area. Although many aspects of the road-effect zone have been investigated, the road-effect zone on soil properties (pH, bulk density, soil moisture, electrical conductivity, organic matter (%), C (%), total N (%), available Na, Ca, Mg, P, and K), light regimes (leaf area index and canopy cover), and a Raunkiaer’s life-form classification of plants remains poorly understood, especially in oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) forests. Hence, the main aims of this research were to estimate the extent of the road-effect zone and to identify the main environmental changes due to forest roads. Specifically, we aimed to evaluate road-effects on: (1) the composition of herbaceous species and tree regeneration (up to 100 m distance from the forest road); (2) the light regime; and (3) soil properties, potentially related to changes in ecosystem functions and composition. We observed that forest roads can have significant impacts on soil, stand characteristics, and vegetation composition. The estimated road-effect zone extended up to 30 m from the road edge. Landscape planners should be aware that road-effect zones can potentially influence the ecology and environmental conditions of an area up to 30 m from the road edge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-770
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Volume137
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Canopy cover
  • Fagus orientalis
  • Iran
  • Leaf area index
  • Road-effect zone

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