baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2018copyright christoph hase

Žofínský prales National Nature Reserve, Czechia

 

Detailed historical forest records including maps suggest that 50 ha of the core zone (74.5 ha) of this reserve (98 ha) has never been logged1. It was the first protected forest in Czechia and among the first in Europe: the core area has been under strict protection since 1838, but deadwood extraction occurred until 1882 1. From 1849 to the 1940s the reserve was a part of a game reserve; as a result, trees belonging to the 40–50-cm diameter class are virtually absent2. After WWII the density of large herbivores increased further although the area was no longer managed as a game reserve2. The whole reserve was fenced in 1991 to exclude the over-dense herbivore populations2. Currently, however, the fence is broken in several places; consequently, all the Opens internal link in current windowAbies alba (European silver fir) and even some Opens internal link in current windowPicea abies (Norway spruce) seedlings are browsed. A storm hit the reserve in 2007 felling about 9% of the core zone; conifer stands were most heavily affected1. Strong winds are generally the most common natural disturbance type in Central Europe; however, very heavy storms like the hurricanes and typhoons of eastern North America and East Asia, are absent3.

 

The forest has been thoroughly studied with all living and dead trees of diameter at least 10 cm being mapped1. Opens internal link in current windowFagus sylvatica (European beech) dominates, followed by P. abies; the other, much less common, trees are A. alba, Opens internal link in current windowUlmus glabra (wych elm), Opens internal link in current windowAcer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple), Opens internal link in current windowAcer platanoides (Norway maple), Opens internal link in current windowSorbus aucuparia (European rowan) and Opens internal link in current windowSalix caprea (goat willow) 1. All these are easy to identify. The reasons for the low percentage of A. alba are air pollution particularly from the 1960s into the 1980s, the 2007 storm1 and certainly also the reserve’s history as a game reserve, as A. alba is the most susceptible tree to browsing4. F. sylvatica has benefited from the decrease of A. alba 1. There are also several small wetlands and peat springs. Elevation ranges from 735 to 830 m, gentle northwest-facing slopes predominate. Mean annual precipitation is 917 mm, with a June maximum, and mean annual temperature 4.3°C 1.

 

References:

 

1       Šamonil, P. et al. (2013): Opens external link in new windowIndividual-based approach to the detection of disturbance history through spatial scales in a natural beech-dominated forest. Journal of Vegetation Science 24: 11671184.

2       Kenderes, K. et al. (2009): Opens external link in new windowNatural Gap Dynamics in a Central European Mixed Beech-Spruce-Fir Old-Growth Forest. Ecoscience 16(1):3947.

3       Fischer, A., Marshall, P. & Camp, A. (2013): Opens external link in new windowDisturbances in deciduous temperate forest ecosystems of the northern hemisphere: their effects on both recent and future forest development. Biodivers Conserv 22:1863–1893.

4       Standovár, T. & Kenderes, K. (2003): A review on natural stand dynamics in Beechwoods of East Central Europe. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 1(1–2): 19–46.

 

Official site:

 

http://www.cittadella.cz/europarc/index.php?p=index&site=NPR_zofinsky_prales_en


Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest. The big tree, right centre, has 405 cm girth.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) and Picea abies (Norway spruce).
On the left 51.7-metre Abies alba (European silver fir) at the edge of a small wetland. Other trees: Fagus sylvatica (European beech) and Picea abies (Norway spruce).
35-metre Ulmus glabra (wych elm). Other trees: Fagus sylvatica (European beech).