The wind and fire disturbance in Central European mountain spruce forests: the regeneration after four years

Monika Budzáková, Dobromil Galvánek, Pavol Littera, Jozef Šibík


A strong windstorm in November 2004 resulted in a huge blown-down spruce forest area in the southern part of the Tatra National Park in the Western Carpathians in Slovakia, Central Europe. The aim of this work is to study the vegetation composition of spruce forest at differently managed sites four years after this disturbance. Four study areas were selected for this purpose: (i) an area where the fallen trees were extracted and new seedlings were planted; (ii) an area, which was hit by a forest fire after the extraction; (iii) an area where no active management was applied; (iv) a reference forest unaffected by such disturbance. A total of 100 plots were selected, 25 of each area type. The result of DCA and CCA analyses consistently indicated that after this short period the non-extracted and extracted areas are currently most similar to the reference forest area, while the fire affected area differed. A one-way ANOVA comparing species cover for the different plot sizes indicated some significant differences between the extracted and non-extracted plots. The abundance of certain species commonly occurring in spruce forests, such as Dyopteris carthusiana agg., Vaccinium myrtillus and Avenella flexuosa, correlated weli with the non-extracted plots, compared to the extracted plots. Coverage of these species was lowest on burned plots. The lowest Shannon-Wiener’s diversity values were recorded in burned plots. This was most likely a consequence of mono-dominant competitive species spread, (mainly Chamerion angustifolium) which profited from the altered ecological conditions following the fire. Although some differences were also registered in the Shannon-Wiener diversity index between the remaining research plots, however these were not statistically significant. The most important results of our investigations include the extensive influence of fire disturbance on vegetation. Study revealed that the wind-disturbed area is able to regenerate sufficiently without human intervention.


disturbance; diversity; ordination; regeneration; spruce forest

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