European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 493–501

Individual-based analysis of tree establishment and forest stand development within 25 years after wind throw

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10342-011-0524-2

Cite this article as:
Fischer, A. & Fischer, H.S. Eur J Forest Res (2012) 131: 493. doi:10.1007/s10342-011-0524-2


Wind throw is a common disturbance in forest ecosystems. Because many forests are intensively used our knowledge on forest dynamics after such disturbances is limited. In the Bavarian Forest National Park/Germany after the wind throw event in summer 1983, we started our long-term observation in nearly natural Norway spruce forests within 5-year intervals up to 2010. A part of the affected stands was cleared, while another part was left untouched for natural development. Here, we focused on the tree species regeneration, using an individual-based approach. We expected that tree species regeneration in both management types would follow different succession pathways. Indeed, we found different regeneration characteristics, depending on whether the area had been cleared or left unmanaged. For example, for the target species Norway spruce, a chronic regeneration during the first two decades with low numbers, but a high survival rate of individuals, and for the pioneer species birch, pulse regeneration with high numbers of individuals only at the beginning and high individual loss during the following years occurred. Unmanaged and cleared wind throw areas, respectively, offer different quantities of micro-sites: the pit and mound structure as mineral soil disturbance was limited to less than 1/4 in the untouched area, whereas there was mineral soil disturbance more or less everywhere on the cleared parts. Type and intensity of disturbance allow a wide range of succession pathways after wind throw, based on the fundamental processes of germination and competition. Therefore, for protection area management as well as for forest management, the human activity immediately after the event is crucial. Because each management impact will change the succession pathway fundamentally any impact has to be omitted in protection areas with the main goal of natural vegetation succession. Also in managed forests abdication of any impact on small areas may improve the natural structures and biodiversity of forests.


Wind throw Permanent plot Transect Forest dynamics Succession pathways Norway spruce forests 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geobotany, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem ManagementTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany

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