Floristic Changes in the Understory Vegetation of Mixed Temperate New England Freshwater Island Forests over a Period of 33 Years

Plants (Basel). 2020 Nov 18;9(11):1600. doi: 10.3390/plants9111600.


During a 33-year sampling period, we observed species richness and calculated species evenness and Shannon Diversity for understory woody seedlings and herbaceous species on three small islands in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, and noted consistency of dominant plant species over time. Seedlings and herbaceous species were recorded and measured in 25 permanent plots that were created on the three islands in 1978. The understory species data were compiled by frequency and dominance of woody seedlings and herbaceous species. Data from 250 individual quadrats show that species richness more than doubled from 41 in 1978 to 83 species on all three islands in 2011. Species evenness on all the islands remained relatively constant in each of the four samplings. The combined Shannon's Diversity for the three islands rose from 2.76 in 1978 to 3.37 in 2011. Dominant species in the study were Aralia nudicaulis, Gaultheria procumbens, Gaylussacia baccata, Maianthemum canadense, and Tsuga canadensis seedlings.

Keywords: Aralia nudicaulis; Gaultheria procumbens; Gaylussacia baccata; Maianthemum canadense; New Hampshire; Shannon diversity; Tsuga canadensis seedlings; species richness; temperate island forests; understory vegetation.