Four decades of the coexistence of beech and spruce in a Central European old-growth forest. Which succeeds on what soils and why?
The dynamics of forests dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) have been studied intensively. However, mainly due to a lack of long-term data, little is known about how these dynamics interact with soil conditions. In an old-growth spruce-beech forest with high soil diversity we studied how the development of tree populations differs among different soils.
Data from tree censuses carried out in 1972, 1996 and 2010 in the Boubín Primeval Forest in the Czech Republic were combined with detailed soil sampling to assess the relative abundance of beech and spruce and the role of the main drivers of population dynamics (tree growth, mortality and recruitment) in changes with respect to soils.
The spatial distribution of populations of the two species primarily reflected a gradient of soil hydromorphism, with beech dominating drier soils and spruce dominating wetter soils. Over the 38 years, beech expanded on all major soils, yet the most important drivers differed. The only driver acting in favour of spruce on certain terrestrial soils was its faster radial growth. However, the effect was weaker than the effect of drivers that prioritized beech, mainly tree mortality. Fine-scale mortality (deaths of individual trees) was more significant on terrestrial soils, while the effect of coarse-scale mortality (deaths from a single severe windstorm event) increased towards hydromorphic soils. Certain soils (Histosols and Albic Podzols) diverged from the general trends because of their different disturbance regimes and specific tree–soil interactions.
Soils play an important role in the dynamics of an old-growth spruce-beech forest. Their physical and chemical properties together with specific disturbance regimes determine fine-scale differences in tree species composition. At the same time, soils themselves are affected by trees, e.g. through acidification. The current expansion of beech is expected to continue on terrestrial soils but will probably slow down with increasing soil wetness.
KeywordsFagus sylvatica Picea abies Tree–soil interactions Disturbance Podzolization Mountain forest dynamics
We would like to thank our colleagues Dušan Adam and Ivana Vašíčková from the ‘Blue Cat’ research team for technical and field support, David Hardekopf for English proofreading and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. The research was supported by Grantová Agentura České Republiky (the Czech Science Foundation), project No. 16-15319S and partly funded by non-project institutional support of The Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening (VUKOZ IP-00027073).
- Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc Ser B 57:289–300Google Scholar
- Berger TW, Köllensperger G, Wimmer R (2004) Plant-soil feedback in spruce (Picea abies) and mixed spruce-beech (Fagus sylvatica) stands as indicated by dendrochemistry. Plant Soil 264:69–83. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PLSO.0000047714.43253.25 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Brázdil R, Szabó P, Stucki P, Dobrovolný P, Řezníčková L, Kotyza O, Valášek H, Melo M, Suchánková S, Dolák L, Chromá K (2017) The extraordinary windstorm of 7 December 1868 in the Czech lands and its central European context. Int J Climatol 37:14–29. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4973 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Corenblit D, Baas ACW, Bornette G, Darrozes J, Delmotte S, Francis RA, Gurnell AM, Julien F, Naiman RJ, Steiger J (2011) Feedbacks between geomorphology and biota controlling earth surface processes and landforms: a review of foundation concepts and current understandings. Earth Sci Rev 106:307–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.03.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dobbertin M (2002) Influence of stand structure and site factors on wind damage comparing the storms Vivian and Lothar. For Snow Landsc Res 77:187–205Google Scholar
- Fichtner A, Sturm K, Rickert C, Härdtle W, Schrautzer J (2012) Competition response of European beech Fagus sylvatica L. varies with tree size and abiotic stress: minimizing anthropogenic disturbances in forests. J Appl Ecol 49:1306–1315. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02196.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Holyoak M, Leibold MA, Holt RD (2005) Metacommunities: spatial dynamics and ecological communities. University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
- IUSS Working Group WRB (2007) World Reference Base for soil resources 2006, first update 2007. World soil resources reports no. 103. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
- Kraus C, Zang C, Menzel A (2016) Elevational response in leaf and xylem phenology reveals different prolongation of growing period of common beech and Norway spruce under warming conditions in the Bavarian Alps. Eur J For Res 135:1011–1023. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-016-0990-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kulakowski D, Seidl R, Holeksa J, Kuuluvainen T, Nagel TA, Panayotov M, Svoboda M, Thorn S, Vacchiano G, Whitlock C, Wohlgemuth T, Bebi P (2017) A walk on the wild side: disturbance dynamics and the conservation and management of European mountain forest ecosystems. For Ecol Manag 388:120–131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2016.07.037 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Leuschner C, Ellenberg H (2017) Ecology of central European forests. Vegetation ecology of Central Europe, Volume I. Springer International Publishing, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
- Liaw A, Wiener M (2002) Classification and regression by randomForest. R News 2:18–22Google Scholar
- Macek M, Wild J, Kopecký M, Červenka J, Svoboda M, Zenáhlíková J, Brůna J, Mosandl R, Fischer A (2017) Life and death of Picea abies after bark-beetle outbreak: ecological processes driving seedling recruitment: ecological. Ecol Appl 27:156–167. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1429 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pickett STA, White PS (1985) The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Academic Press, Inc., San DiegoGoogle Scholar
- Pretzsch H, Dieler J, Seifert T, Rötzer T (2012) Climate effects on productivity and resource-use efficiency of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) in stands with different spatial mixing patterns. Trees - Struct Funct 26:1343–1360. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-012-0710-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pretzsch H, Rötzer T, Matyssek R, Grams TEE, Häberle KH, Pritsch K, Kerner R, Munch JC (2014b) Mixed Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) stands under drought: from reaction pattern to mechanism. Trees 28:1305–1321. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-014-1035-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- R Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical ComputingGoogle Scholar
- Schaetzl RJ, Thompson ML (2015) Soils: genesis and geomorphology, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Sohet K, Herbauts J, Gruber W (1988) Changes caused by Norway spruce in an ochreous brown earth, assessed by the isoquartz method. J Soil Sci 39:549–561. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2389.1988.tb01239.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vrška T, Hort L, Odehnalová P et al (2001) The Boubín virgin forest after 24 years (1972–1996) – development of tree layer. J For Sci 47:439–459Google Scholar
- Welzholz J, Johann E (2007) History of protected forest areas in Europe. In: Frank G, Parviainen J, Vandekerkhove K, et al. (eds) COST Action E27 Protected Forest areas in Europe – analysis and harmonisation (PROFOR): results, conclusions and recommendations. Federal Research and training Centre for Forests, natural hazards and landscape (BFW), Vienna, pp 17–40Google Scholar