Vascular plants in power line clearings and the nearby forest, southeast Norway

Latest version published by Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) on Dec 13, 2019 Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Power line clearings are edge-creating disturbances in landscapes world-wide, but there have been few studies on their bordering vegetation. Our aim was to quantify edge effects on plant communities along such clearings in Norway and to identify factors that influence these edge effects.

We surveyed understorey plant communities on either side of the power line clearing–forest edge at 51 sites, along four parallel transects at each site. Each transect had four plots located, respectively, in the clearing centre, clearing edge, forest edge and forest. We quantified the magnitude of edge effects (MEE) on either side by comparing edges with their corresponding ‘non-edge’ reference habitats. We also measured differences in species composition across the edge (clearing edge vs. forest edge). Habitat characteristics were sampled at plot and site level and from digital maps. % cover of vascular plants were registered (see Eldegard et al 2015 for description of study design and methods).

Differences in species composition were greater between clearing centres and clearing edges than between forests and forest edges. Differences in species composition across the edge increased with edge contrast and forest productivity. Edge effects on species composition into the forest were smallest along north-facing edges, whereas those in the clearings increased with power line age.

Species richness increased slightly towards the edge in forests but decreased considerably towards the edge in clearings. The direction and MEE on either side differed among functional groups. Edge contrast and edge aspect were the prime factors influencing the MEE into forests, whereas in clearings, these were influenced principally by tree regrowth in the clearings and by forest productivity.

Synthesis and applications. Edge effects on plant communities bordering power line clearings were determined by factors that can be influenced by planners and managers. For existing power lines, management plans should differentiate between the following: (i) clearings through high conservation value forests, where edge effects into the adjacent forest should be limited; (ii) clearings that can act as replacement habitat for cultural landscape species, where maintaining open-canopy habitats should be prioritized; and (iii) ‘business-as-usual’ clearings, where continuing the current practice of cutting every 5–10 years is recommended.

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 1,060 records. 1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

  • Event (core)
  • Occurrence 

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 1,060 records in English (806 KB) - Update frequency: not planned
Metadata as an EML file download in English (7 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (8 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Eldegard, K., Totland, Ø. and Moe, S. R. (2015), Edge effects on plant communities along power line clearings. J Appl Ecol, 52: 871–880.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 9678e1a6-b1c4-4e86-9d26-ebb169338655.  Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Norway.




Who created the resource:

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Who filled in the metadata:

Who else was associated with the resource:

Katrine Eldegard
Stein R. Moe
Ørjan Totland

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Eldegard, K., Totland, Ø. and Moe, S. R. (2015), Edge effects on plant communities along power line clearings. J Appl Ecol, 52: 871–880.

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 9678e1a6-b1c4-4e86-9d26-ebb169338655