Species richness and abundance of bryophytes inhabiting forest floor substrates were assessed at two sites in western Oregon. Bryophyte diversity, abundance, and community composition were compared between sites, and between young forest stands (~55 yrs) and old-growth stands (400 + yrs) within each site. Relationships of stand structural features to diversity and community composition were assessed by stratifying sampling between 'diversity' plots placed in areas of greater structural diversity, such as hardwood openings and remnant old-growth trees, and 'matrix' plots situated within the remaining more homogeneous conifer-dominated forest matrix. Richness, particularly for liverworts, was significantly higher in old-growth than young stands, and the two ages differed significantly in community composition. Substrate (ground versus coarse woody debris) and overstory (conifers versus hardwoods) were most strongly correlated with variation in community composition. Relatively open hardwood-dominated diversity plots differed in composition from matrix plots. Bryophyte abundance was lower in denser stands and plots, and positively correlated with canopy gaps, percentage of hardwoods, and incident solar radiation. These results suggest that availability of light may limit bryophyte productivity in these stands.
Additional publication details
Forest floor bryophytes of Pseudotsuga menziesii-Tsuga heterophylla stand in Oregon: Influences of substrate and overstory