Popular Science: What was the original forest composition in the Bohemian/Bavarian Forest?
Researchers focused on the dynamics of forest species composition at high- (over 900 m) and mid-elevations (700 - 900 m) during the Holocene, about the last ten thousand years. For the reconstruction of past vegetation, they have used a model that includes variables such as the pollen production rate of individual plant species, the pollen dispersal capacity and the factors affecting its dispersal – the size and type of the sedimentation basin. In addition, they used pollen data. Newly analysed pollen data came from the Prášilské jezero and Rachelsee, supplemented by data from previously analysed mires and lakes.
The results of the study showed that a given locality was dominated by spruce in the mid-elevations all over the Holocene, where beech and fir were thought to be predominant. Beech and fir were represented most abundantly about 2000 years ago by a total of 37%, while spruce was represented by 40%. Currently, the management is targeting for a beech forest with spruce as a secondary tree species. The authors suggest that 45% of the spruce should be represented in mid-elevation forest stands. At the same time, they stress the possible impact of climate change, which could cause a further decline in the spruce range, and therefore steps should now be taken to protect it.
Let us hope that paleoecological research will no longer be overlooked, but will be taken into account in the management of important natural sites, such as the Bohemian/Bavarian Forest.
Carter VA, Chiverrell RC, Clear JL, Kuosmanen N, Moravcová A, Svoboda M, Svobodová-Svitavská H, van Leeuwen JFN, van der Knaap WO and Kuneš P (2018) Quantitative Palynology Informing Conservation Ecology in the Bohemian/Bavarian Forests of Central Europe. Front. Plant Sci. 8:2268. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.02268