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At beginning of the 1980's, the National Science Foundation (USA) came up with the initiation of the program for Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER), which is a program based on long-term comprehensive study of the structure and processes of ecosystems. The Ecological Experimental Station (EES) in the Kremnické vrchy Mountains (Western Carpathians, Slovakia, 1986) was founded for similar purposes. The aim of the research at EES was to evaluate the productivity, carrying capacity and functioning of the beech ecosystem. In February 1989, five plots were established. Four plots were subjected to a regeneration cutting of different intensities (clear-cut, strip shelterwood cut: light, medium and heavy). The fifth plot was left without any management treatments as a control. The second cutting was performed in 2004 followed by the final cutting five years later. Currently, the research is carried out on the EES control plot in the stand comprising 115-120 years old beech trees. In the other stands the research is focused on the development of naturally regenerated beech ecosystems established after different cutting interventions. The future of the EES is in addressing some global issues, particularly the impact of climate change on primary production, as well as on its other consequences for the functioning of the affected ecosystems. © 2015 Milan Barna, published by De Gruyter Open 2015.

Konopka B.,Slovakian Forest Research Institute | Konopka B.,Czech University of Life Sciences | Lukac M.,University of Reading
Forest Pathology | Year: 2013

A rain shelter experiment was conducted in a 90-year-old Norway spruce stand, in the Kysucké Beskydy Mts (Slovakia). Three rain shelters were constructed in the stand to prevent the rainfall from reaching the soil and to reduce water availability in the rhizosphere. Fine root biomass and necromass were repeatedly measured throughout a growing season by soil coring. We established the quantities of fine root biomass (live) and necromass (dead) at soil depths of 0-5, 5-15, 15-25 and 25-35 cm. Significant differences in soil moisture contents between control and drought plots were found in the top 15 cm of soil after 20 weeks of rainfall manipulation (lasting from early June to late October). Our observations show that even relatively light drought decreased total fine root biomass from 272.0 to 242.8 g m-2 and increased the amount of necromass from 79.2 to 101.2 g m-2 in the top 35 cm of soil. Very fine roots (VFR), that is, those with diameter up to 1 mm, were more affected than total fine roots defined as 0-2 mm. The effect of reduced water availability was depth-specific; as a result, we observed a modification of vertical distribution of fine roots. More roots in drought treatment were produced in the wetter soil horizons at 25-35 cm depth than at the surface. We conclude that fine and VFR systems of Norway spruce have the capacity to re-allocate resources to roots at different depths in response to environmental signals, resulting in changes in necromass to biomass ratio. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Stefancik I.,Slovakian Forest Research Institute | Stefancik I.,Czech University of Life Sciences
Folia Oecologica | Year: 2013

The paper deals with assessment of the long-term experiment (45 years of investigation) in beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) stand with delayed tending started at stand age of 60 years. The research was performed on four partial plots by different methods of their management: (i) plot with heavy thinning from below (C degree according to the German forest research institutes from 1902), (ii) plot with the free crown thinning (thinning interval of 5 years), (iii) plot with the free crown thinning (thinning interval of 10 years) and (iv) control plot (with no thinning). From qualitative point of view, the best results according to the number of target (crop) trees were found on plots tended by the free crown thinning (thinning interval of 5 years), and the worst on plots with heavy thinning from below and/or plot with no tending (control plot). Consequently, the results showed lower number of target (crop) trees in comparison with our assumption and/or the model developed for beech stands in the past. On the other hand, from quantitative point of view, the best results were achieved on plot tended by heavy thinning from below, followed by the plot with the free crown thinning (thinning interval of 5 years).

Hlasny T.,Slovakian Forest Research Institute | Hlasny T.,Czech University of Life Sciences | Turcani M.,Czech University of Life Sciences
Annals of Forest Science | Year: 2013

• Context: Secondary Norway spruce forests in the Western Beskids are among the most damaged forests in Europe. Although spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) has been recently causing large-scale damage to these forests, our understanding of I. typographus dynamics in this environment is inadequate for evaluating forest sustainability. • Aim: This study aims to evaluate the patterns of damage caused by I. typographus to spruce forests with compromised ecological stability. • Methods: Forest infestation by I. typographus was inferred from sanitary felling data collected from 1998 to 2004. Stand and site data were obtained from forest management plans. Spatial-dependence analysis, ordinary kriging and neural network-based regression modelling were used to investigate the patterns of infestation and the casual relationships in the studied ecosystem. • Results: I. typographus long-distance dispersal substantially decreased with outbreak culmination. The spread of infestation was only weakly related to stand and site parameters. Infestations spread isotropically at the stand and patch level but directionally at the regional scale. • Conclusions: The large-scale spread of infestation can be explained by the uniform age and species composition of the investigated forests and by the ability of populations to overwhelm suboptimal trees. The observations presented here suggest that secondary spruce forests in Europe may be unsustainable due to unprecedented bark beetle outbreaks, which can be further amplified by changing climate. © 2013 INRA and Springer-Verlag France.

In this paper, a thinning experiment aimed at silvicultural and production issues is analysed. The long-term experiment was established 53 years ago in a beech stand located in the central part of Slovakia. Tending of the stand started at the age of 36 years. Research was conducted in three treatment plots: (i) heavy thinning from below (C degree according to the German forest research institutes from 1902), (ii) free crown thinning, and (iii) control plot (without thinning). The basic stand quantitative parameters (number of trees, basal area, and volume of the timber to the top of 7 cm, diameter and volume increment, total yield) were evaluated from 12 biometric measurements, which were performed during the 53-year-period of investigation. From quantitative production perspective, the best results were almost in all cases obtained in the plot with heavy thinning from below, followed by the free crown thinning. The worst parameters showed the control plot.

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