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Nature forests dynamics in the Temperate Zone of Europe

Sun shines through the forest on a misty day.

Network of research plots in natural forest reserves in Slovakia covers the whole natural range of forests and it has been investigated permanently for almost five decades by the Department of Silviculture. This network has been built in the most valuable virgin forest remnants since the late 1950s, thus the unique data-sets that follow 50 years of virgin forests development are available. The series of permanent research plots were established in 19 selected virgin forest reserves that included all 7 altitudinal forest vegetation zones present in Slovakia (oak, oak-beech, beech-oak, beech, beech-fir, beech-fir-spruce, and spruce stage).

Usually, a set of three rectangular plots with the size of 0.5 ha each was established in each reserve and repeated measurements have been conducted ordinarily every 10 years. On research plots, all living trees, standing deadwood (snags) and lying deadwood (logs) as well as the structure of natural regeneration were recorded. At the present time, besides the periodical measurements the research is focused also on the questions of disturbance regimes in natural forests.

The main aim is the analysis of the structural diversity and the identification of possible causes according to developmental stages on the plots with the area from 0.5 ha to 5 ha in the natural forests of Slovakia.

Evaluate whether the large-scale wind and bark beetle disturbances are the phenomenon of the last decade, or if they are the ordinary part of subalpine spruce forest development in the conditions of Slovakia. The focus is on the age structure and tree recruitment in time; Intensity and periodicity of disturbances – reconstruction of disturbance regime; Role of disturbances in development of forest.


KUCBEL, S., SANIGA, M., JALOVIAR, P., VENCURIK, J., 2012: Production, stand structure and temporal variability in old-growth beech-dominated forests of northwestern Carpathians: A 40-year perspective. Forest Ecology and Management.264/2/:125-133

SANIGA, M., BUGOŠOVÁ, L., KUCBEL, S., JALOVIAR, P., PITTNER, J., 2014: Structure, dendromass distribution, disturbance regime and regeneration processes of old-growth forest in NNR Rožok /a 30 years study/. Scientific Monograph TU Zvolen, ISBN 978-80-228-2617-4, 61 pp.

SANIGA, M., BALANDA, M., KUCBEL, S., PITTNER, J., 2014: Four decades of forest succession in the oak- dominated forest reserves in Slovakia. In iForest – biogeosciences and forestry .Vol. 7 (2014), p. 324-332.

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Prof. Dr. Milan Saniga,
Department of Silviculture

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