Autoecology of beech woodstands in Catalonia (Spain)

R. Elena, F. Sánchez, A. Rubio, V. Gómez, A. Aunós, A. Blanco, O. Sánchez


This study was carried out after field sampling and analysis of 24 beechwood stand plots selected by means of a beech distribution area stratification system based on CLATERES Land Classification. At each sampling plot, 3 physiographic, 15 climatic and 18 edaphic parameter values were measured, allowing us to define central and marginal parameter ranges, which were used for drawing landform, climatic and soil habitat diagrams of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) woodstands in Catalonia [N.E. Spain]. Such diagrams show that most of the Catalonian beech stands are located on soils developed from a series of different rocks: igneous, volcanic, metamorphic, and sedimentary, both acid and basic. Soil texture are predominantly loam, sandy loam and silt loam. According to FAO criteria, soils are mainly classified as Cambisols. Although soil water holding capacities are low, there is no significant drought stress. Soil humus forms are forest mull and calcic mull. Moreover, several silvicultural stand parameters have been calculated: Stand density, Coppice density, Basal area, Age, Site index, Top Height, Hart-Becking indexes and Canopy cover indexes. After their correlation with the ecological ones, it is concluded that the best beechwoods are located on more thermic sites, but under enough summer rainfalls to avoid critical drought stress.


Fagus sylvatica; Central Habitat; Marginal Habitat; Biotope; Autoecology; Silviculture; Catalonia