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Václav Šimůnek, Zdeněk Vacek, Stanislav Vacek, Ivo Králíček and Karel Vančura

Abstract

Long-term temporal development of beech stands in relation to climatic conditions is well documented by dendrochronological analyses. The study aims to identify and describe growth factors affecting natural European beech stands (Fagus sylvatica L.) on permanent research plots in the eastern Krkonoše Mountains, the Czech Republic. The paper focus on radial growth dynamics, frequency and cyclicity, and the effect of climatic factors on diameter increment of beech stands since 1850. The growth development of beech stands was significantly affected by air pollution load in 1977–1989, and increasingly frequent climate extremes in recent years (since 2010). Periodic increment events recurred in approximately 10–18 years’ periods. Stands on research plots responded differently to climatic factors, the main limiting factor being low temperatures during the growing season, frost damages and extreme droughts. The positive influence of temperatures on beech increments was recorded in winter, early spring, and especially in July and August of the current year. Conversely, precipitation in the previous year had higher impact on radial increment, with prevailing negative correlation. The plots were negatively affected by the decrease in sum of precipitation in February and March, but it was the temperature that influenced the beech increment most significantly. Dendrochronological analysis of close-to-nature beech stands provides valuable information on radial forest growth in response to changing climatic conditions.

Open access

Zdeněk Vacek, Stanislav Vacek, Jiří Slanař, Lukáš Bílek, Daniel Bulušek, Igor Štefančík, Ivo Králíček and Karel Vančura

Abstract

In time of climate change, close-to-nature silviculture is growing in importance as a tool for future forest management. The paper study the tree layer and natural regeneration of monospecific Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.), trough mixed spruce-beech to dominant European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests in Jizerské hory Mts., the Czech Republic. In the locality, shelterwood and selection system have been applied since 2000. The research objectives were to evaluate production parameters, structural diversity, species richness, natural regeneration dynamics and radial growth of individual tree species in relation to climatic factors and air pollution. The stand volume on permanent research plots amounted to 441 – 731 m3 ha−1 in initial stage of transformation. Natural regeneration showed high expansion of beech and decrease of spruce compared to mature tree species composition. Radial growth of spruce was in significant negative correlation with SO2 and NOX concentrations compared to no effect on beech increment. Moreover, spruce was more sensitive to significant years with extreme low radial growth. Beech was more stable in radial growth. Spruce was more resistant to air pollution and climatic stress in mixed stands. Low temperature was limiting factor of radial growth together with climate extremes (such as strong frosts and more frequent droughts) and biotic factors (bark beetle, beech scale). Close-to-nature management supporting admixed tree species should lead in future to diversification of stand structure toward higher species, spatial and age structure to mitigate negative effect of climatic change.