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iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry

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Multi-aged micro-neighborhood patches challenge the forest cycle model in primeval European beech

Eric K Zenner (1)   , Jerilynn E Peck (1), Volodymyr Trotsiuk (2-3-4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 209-214 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3309-013
Published: Jun 06, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Short Communications


As currently framed, the forest cycle model that underlies close-to-nature management in temperate beech forests throughout the globe specifies an orderly sequence of temporal development within even-aged patches comprising the forest mosaic. Although this model has been widely applied to European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests, the underlying assumptions of disturbance-induced even-agedness (i.e., within-patch age homogeneity) and competition-induced size differentiation (i.e., within-patch size heterogeneity) have not been tested in natural beech forests due to prohibitions on tree coring in primeval forest reserves. In a rare and unprecedented test dataset of spatially explicit tree ages in an old-growth European beech forest, we employed triangulated irregular networks of Delaunay triangles to objectively identify natural tree neighborhoods to determine if neighboring (i.e., within-patch) trees were even- or, at most, two-aged. Age differences among neighboring trees (summarized in 25-yr age classes) were rarely <25 yrs and mostly >50 yrs, while the few "even-aged" patches were very small (100 m2) and relatively young (<150 yrs). In this first assessment of the assumptions underlying the forest cycle model in European beech, we observed neither the even-aged cohorts expected for disturbance-induced patches in different phases of development, nor the size differentiation among similarly aged trees that should arise from the neighborhood dynamics of competition, self-thinning, and growth. The lack of patches indicating demographic turnover is fundamentally inconsistent with the forest cycle model as it is currently framed. We call for further exploration of spatially-explicit tree age datasets to determine the generality of these observations.

  Keywords


Age Reconstruction, Carpathians, Dendrochronology, Development Stage, Forest Cycle, Stand Development, Structure, Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN)

Authors’ address

(1)
Eric K Zenner 0000-0002-4884-593X
Jerilynn E Peck
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802 (USA)
(2)
Volodymyr Trotsiuk 0000-0002-8363-656X
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamycka 129, Prague (Czech Republic)
(3)
Volodymyr Trotsiuk 0000-0002-8363-656X
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf (Switzerland)
(4)
Volodymyr Trotsiuk 0000-0002-8363-656X
Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich (Switzerland)

Corresponding author

 
Eric K Zenner
eric.zenner@psu.edu

Citation

Zenner EK, Peck JE, Trotsiuk V (2020). Multi-aged micro-neighborhood patches challenge the forest cycle model in primeval European beech. iForest 13: 209-214. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3309-013

Academic Editor

Jesus Julio Camarero

Paper history

Received: Dec 03, 2019
Accepted: Apr 10, 2020

First online: Jun 06, 2020
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2020
Publication Time: 1.90 months

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