960064_4256014177696_759338542_nYear: 2011-2013

Research group: Volodymyr Trotsiuk; Brigitte Commarmot; Martina Hobi.

Overview: The general aim of the project was to access the age structure and disturbance dynamic of the primeval beech forest. The project is a part of the larger research projects: “Sampling inventory of the Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh primeval forest” and “Structure and dynamics of virgin and (formerly) managed beech forest”.In this study we give an insight into the natural disturbance dynamics of the virgin beech forest Uholka, based on a structural analysis and a dendroecological reconstruction of its history. On four circular plots of 0.1 ha each, DBH and tree height of all living trees P6 cm DBH were measured. Increment cores of all the 164 trees were taken for age estimation and growth pattern analysis. To identify significant growth releases and reconstruct the disturbance history a dendroecological approach, referred to as the boundary line method, was employed. The density of the living trees per plot ranged from 270 to 590 stems per ha and the volume from 525 to 1237 m3 per ha. The longest tree-ring series was 451 years long, however age estimation methods showed that beech could reach an age of up to 550 years. All four plots covered an age span of at least 300 years and can be characterised as uneven-aged with continuous tree establishment. Beech can survive long suppression periods of over 100 years and shows regularly distributed growth releases over the analysed period (1870–1999). The results suggest that stand dynamics in this forest are driven by periodic small disturbances, while larger events occur only rarely. The high percentage of rotten trees in the upper canopy indicates that individual trees are prone to windbreakage, which promotes these small-scale dynamics. The forest shows the typical features of an old-growth forest shaped by small-scale disturbances, such as high structural diversity, a large diameter range, the presence of up to 500 years old beech trees, a high biomass and large amounts of standing and lying deadwood of all decay classes.

The results suggest that stand dynamics in this forest are driven by periodic small disturbances, while larger events occur only rarely. The high percentage of rotten trees in the upper canopy indicates that individual trees are prone to windbreakage, which promotes these small-scale dynamics.

Funding:  State Secretary for Education and Research, Switzerland

Outputs:

  • Trotsiuk V., Hobi M.L., Commarmot B., 2012. Age structure and disturbance dynamics of the relic virgin beech forest Uholka (Ukrainian Carpathians). Forest Ecol Manag 265, 181-190. [Abstract]
  • Trotsiuk V., Myklush S.I., Commarmot B., Hobi M.L. 2013. Pecularities of DBH growth increment of the trees in the primeval beech forest. Research journal NFUU, 23.1, 62-68. (In Ukrainian.Троцюк В., Миклуш С.І., Коммармот Б., Хобі М.Л. Особливості росту за діаметром дерев букового пралісу. Науковий вісник НЛТУУ, 2013. Вип. – 23.1, Сс. 62-68) [pdf]
  • Trotsiuk V., Rehush N. Gold of the Carpathians. Primeval beech forests Uholka-Shuroky luh massif – one of the oldest in Europe. Magazine “Zeleni Karpaty”, 2012. Pp. 23-26. (In Ukrainian. Троцюк В., Регуш Н.В. Золото Карпат. Досліди стверджують: букові праліси Уголько-Широколужанського масиву КБЗ – найстаріші у Європі? Зелені карпати, 2012. Сс. 23 – 26).