Tree population dynamics and fire history in Bialowieza Forest
Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, SLU, Alnarp
in cooperation with Forest Research Institute, European Centre for Natural Forests, Bialowieza Poland
project duration – 2010 – 2015
Bialowieza Forest (BF) (E Poland and W Belarus) is one of best preserved lowland old-growth woodlands of the European temperate zone. Due to its high degree of naturalness it has become a reference ecosystem for forest ecology in this region. However, the disturbance history and tree dynamics of this forest area are still poorly known. The general aim of the project is to investigate regeneration dynamics of Scots pine, Norway spruce, and pedunculate oak over the last ~300 years in relation to fire disturbance history in this area. Specific questions, which will be answered, are: (1) Over which area and in which forest types did fire influence the regeneration of trees and thereby today’s forest composition in BF?; (2) Did changes in fire regime cause the increase of spruce share in BF stands, observed in the recent past?; (3) Is fire a positive factor for regeneration of Scots pine in the competition with other, late-successional tree species, like e.g. spruce, also in the central European conditions?; (4) Are fire and climate dynamics in BF over last ~300 years related? The project will be based on dendroecological and GIS methods. Data will be collected both in the Polish and the Belarusian part of the study area.