Wind – an important ecological factor and destructive agent in forests

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Abstract

Wind is both an ecological provider and disturbance facilitator influences trees and other organisms in forests. Impacts of wind on induvidual trees and forests mainly depend on the strength (or intensity) of the wind and the stability of the trees. Wind causes large-scale damage to forests and serious economical losses for the forestry sector within Europe. Therefore, knowledge of interactions between wind and trees and/or forests provides the baseline for developing adequate prevention or mitigation of the negative consequences associated with wind disturbances in forest ecosystems. Herein, we analyse the wind as an ecological and disturbance factor in forests in Europe, emphasising forests in Slovakia. Here, strong winds destroy mostly spruce dominated forests in the following regions; Orava, High and Low Tatra Mountains, Great Fatra Mountains, Pohronie, Poľana Mountains and Slovak Ore Mountains. Increasing volumes of timber damaged by windstorms have been documented since 1961, with the maximum damage recorded in 2004. Yearly volumes of damaged timber of approximately 2.5 mil. m3 are predicted from 2016 to 2030. This highlights the data requirement regarding wind disturbances for integrated forest protection against dangerous winds and other disturbance agents in forest ecosystems in Slovakia and other European countries.

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Central European Forestry Journal

The Journal of National Forest Centre – Forest Research Institute Zvolen

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