Forest disturbance in a changing world

The disturbances of the past shape the forests of today

Paper "The historical disturbance regime of mountain Norway spruce forests in the Western Carpathians and its influence on current forest structure and composition" published in Forest Ecology and Management.

In a work led by RESIN collaborator Pavel Janda and co-authored by RESIN PI Rupert Seidl and RESIN collaborator Miroslav Svoboda we used dendroecology to reconstruct forest disturbance regimes in the Carpathians of Slovakia, identifying episodes of high disturbance activity particularly in the early and mid 19th century.

Disturbance severity varied widely in the past: High severity disturbances were comparatively rare, while low to moderate severity events happend with return intervals <100 years. In terms of area affected, however, the small number of extensive high severity events was equally important as the high number of smaller low severity events.

These past disturbance patterns had a distinct influence on the present state of the forest. Specifically, age and dbh structure were strongly driven by disturbance history. Interestingly, however, tree regeneration was found to be independent of mid- to long-term disturbance history.

This effort presents one of the first attempts to a reconstruction of the historical range of variability for forests in Central Europe and will be an important cornerstone for further work in RESIN. The paper can be found here.

Written by rupert on Wednesday September 14, 2016

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