The flora of clear-cuttings with soil scarification in forests was compared < 1–2 yr after cutting with that in mature herb-rich forests in SW Finland. The total and mean numbers of vascular plant species both in the study areas and in the sample plots, were almost double in clear-cut areas compared to mature forests. Clear-cuttings and mature forests were distinctly separated by multivariate analyses (DCA). Several dozen species not found in forests were common in clear-cut areas. Most of them probably belong to the neglected native species pool of early boreal forest succession and are dependent on the long-term persistent seed bank or effective wind dispersal. It is emphasized that in forests many plant species are confined to the very early stages (< 2 yr) after disturbance. The storage effect of the long-term persistent seed bank is crucial for the maintenance of plant diversity in boreal forests. Probably a considerable part of the flora of agricultural areas is composed of species that were originally disturbance dependent forest plants. Scarification is beneficial to disturbance dependent plants and may be useful in restoration of populations of species of early succession.
Nomenclature: Hämet-Ahti et al. (1998).