iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Patterns of forest dynamics in a secondary old-growth beech-dominated forest in the Jizera Mountains Beech Forest Reserve, Czech Republic

Jana Lábusová (1)   , C Morrissey Robert (1), Volodymyr Trotsiuk (1-2-3), Pavel Janda (1), Radek Bače (1), Vojtech Cada (1), Martin Mikoláš (1-4), Hana Mrhalová (1), S Schurman Jonathan (1), Kristýna Svobodová (1-5), Lenka Mateju (1), Michal Synek (1), Miroslav Svoboda (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 17-26 (2019)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2702-011
Published: Jan 10, 2019 - Copyright © 2019 SISEF

Research Articles

Restoring the structural characteristics of secondary old-growth forests that were previously managed is increasingly debated to help increase the area of more complex forests which provide a broader array of forest services and functions. The paucity of long-term data sets in Central Europe has limited our ability to understand the ongoing ecological processes required for effective restoration programs for old-growth forests. To address this, we used repeated census data from eight permanent plots to evaluate forest structural dynamics over a 12-year period in the largest complex of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests in the Czech Highlands without intensive forestry intervention for almost 50 years. Our results showed that previously managed forests can exhibit structural qualities typically associated with old-growth forests after management has ceased for a period. The stand structural characteristics (e.g., density of large and old trees) is comparable with protected reserves of old-growth European beech-dominated forests. The average stand age was 196 years, but the oldest tree was 289 years old. The annual mortality rate was 0.43% for all species, and the U-shaped distribution indicating size-dependent mortality is likely an important process that is balanced by the turnover of new tree recruitment. During the study period, we detected that the diameter distribution tended towards a rotated sigmoid distribution. The lasting effects of the most recent forest management are evident in the scarcity of dead wood, and a prolonged process of dead wood accumulation has begun. Thus, the abandonment of all management activities in near-natural forest reserves, including dead wood removal, will ensure that the forests will develop characteristics typical of old-growth forests.


Dead Wood, Diameter Distribution, Fagus sylvatica, Forest Reserve, Forest Structure, Mortality, Old-growth Forest

Authors’ address

Jana Lábusová
C Morrissey Robert
Volodymyr Trotsiuk
Pavel Janda
Radek Bače
Vojtech Cada
Martin Mikoláš
Hana Mrhalová
S Schurman Jonathan
Kristýna Svobodová
Lenka Mateju
Michal Synek
Miroslav Svoboda
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Kamyeckae 129, Praha 6, Suchdol 16521 (Czech Republic)
Volodymyr Trotsiuk
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zuercherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf (Switzerland)
Volodymyr Trotsiuk
ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Systems Science, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, 8092 Zurich (Switzerland)
Martin Mikoláš
PRALES, o.z., Odtrnovie 563, Rosina, 03122 (Slovakia)
Kristýna Svobodová
Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, Prague 6, 165 21 (Czech Republic)

Corresponding author

Jana Lábusová


Lábusová J, Morrissey Robert C, Trotsiuk V, Janda P, Bače R, Cada V, Mikoláš M, Mrhalová H, Schurman Jonathan S, Svobodová K, Mateju L, Synek M, Svoboda M (2019). Patterns of forest dynamics in a secondary old-growth beech-dominated forest in the Jizera Mountains Beech Forest Reserve, Czech Republic. iForest 12: 17-26. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2702-011

Academic Editor

Gianluca Piovesan

Paper history

Received: Nov 30, 2017
Accepted: Oct 26, 2018

First online: Jan 10, 2019
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2019
Publication Time: 2.53 months

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