Mixed hornbeam – oak forest
Long-term strict protection of woodland communities may lead to their compositional simplification and homogenisation.
Context In the past, it has often been postulated that structures and processes typical for natural forests should be mimicked by silvicultural activities in the case of managed tree stands.
Aims To determine which features and traits of natural woodland communities (alongside typical old-growth attributes) should be imitated in managed forests, as well as which should not (and for what reasons).
Methods Tree data from five permanent study plots (of a total area of 15.44 ha) established in 1936 in the core area of the Białowieża National Park (NE Poland) are used to calculate several quantitative indices describing the temporal dynamics (in terms of stand structure and composition) of eight major woodland community types.
Results Most structural attributes revealed rather high stability over time. In contrast to these, during the observation period, noticeable changes in the composition of particular Białowieża woodland communities have been taking place, related to declining occurrence and reduced roles characteristic for a large number of tree species.
The remnants of dead spruce trees (Picea abies).
Conclusion In many ways, natural forests can serve as an important model for managed forest stands. However, in certain circumstances, silvicultural treatments counteracting natural developmental trends may appear to be indispensable, especially when more diverse and stable tree species composition (at a given spatial and temporal scale) is indicated or desirable.
Close-to-nature silviculture, Community dynamics, Natural forest, Stand composition, Stand structure, Structural index
Open Access Publication
Brzeziecki, B., Bielak, K., Bolibok, L. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2018) 75: 89.
The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are available in the dryad repository (Brzeziecki et al. 2018). Datasets are not peer reviewed. Brzeziecki B, Bielak K, Bolibok L, et al. (2018) Data from: structural and compositional dynamics of strictly protected woodland communities with silvicultural implications, using Białowieża Forest as an example. Dryad Digital Repository [Dataset]. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.35vr46g