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An investigation of species diversity and abundance of ground flora in coppices of different ages.

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Introduction

An investigation of species diversity and abundance of ground flora in coppices of different ages. Introduction: Coppicing is the removal of the canopy layer - such as hazel, ash and lime to nearly ground level. This provides timber but also allows the trees to re-grow with many more shoots instead of just the one trunk. This cycle takes about ten years which gives the ground layer a chance to flourish. Hypotheses: There will be less species diversity and abundance in the old coppice. Explanation: There are many reasons for my hypotheses which I will try to scientifically prove. We have to consider all the different factors involved in the species diversity and abundance especially the key factor. The key factor is the amount of light. The ground flora is obviously dependant upon light to photosynthesise. When the canopy layer is cut back this allows more light to reach the ground level increasing the abundance of the ground plants as they can photosynthesise more. Also the acidity of the soil may be different affecting the species diversity as some plants are better adapted for acidic soil whilst others may be better suited for alkaline soil. ...read more.

Middle

We will also measure the soil pH and soil moisture content. This will be done by twisting the auger into the soil and then scooping it out. To measure its acidity we will put it into a test tube with some water and barium sulphate. This causes a colour change from which its acidity can be worked out. The soil moisture content can be worked out by weighing the soil, evaporating the water and burning the humus and measuring the difference between the original and final weight. I should be able to carry out this method quite easily as I have already have prior experience with this method, having used it in a field test in school. Results: OLD COPPICE NEW COPPICE Species/Quadrat number 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Dead organic matter 80 90 100 80 50 100 26 12 Ash 6 12 3 5 3 Birch 1 Bluebell 85 74 50 99 90 7 79 10 Bramble 15 83 22 18 Chickweeds 2 Cleavers 8 Dandelions 2 2 Enchanter's n'shade 3 Fern (not bracken) 7 Foxglove 2 Grasses (not tussock) 100 Ground ivy Hawthorn 9 9 Honeysuckle 7 Holly 1 4 Ivy 2 Oaks 4 4 Violets 2 6 %cover - diff. ...read more.

Conclusion

sites with the fewest species diversity. I believe that there are a few anomalies however. In the new coppice in Quadrat 2 there is 100% dead organic matter whilst in the rest of the new coppice the figure is averaging 12%. This may be because the ground has been trampled or it may be in the shade of some of the fallen trees. There were also a few limitations. Some species of flora may have been incorrectly identified. This would result in inaccurate data. Also we only identified these results in a single day. We cannot say that this pattern is identical the whole year through. In winter when there is less light the species diversity and abundance will most probably fall and equal out in both coppices. On that day there may have been a rare weather pattern which could have influenced the results. To improve the method we could have had a plant specialist to aid us in correct identification of the different species. We could also have carried out this experiment over a period of time and taken an average of the results to get a better picture. This would however be impractical due to the amount of time it would take. ?? ?? ?? ?? Suneil Rudra 10Q Biology Coursework ...read more.

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