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European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 555–567 | Cite as

Growth decrease and mortality of oak floodplain forests as a response to change of water regime and climate

  • D. B. Stojanović
  • T. Levanič
  • B. Matović
  • S. Orlović
Original Paper

Abstract

Forest mortality is globally present, and pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) forests in Europe are no exception at all. The aim of this study was to tackle the issue of oak floodplain forests response to water level, temperature and precipitation changes due to the altered climate conditions. We examined interannual and interseasonal scales using dendroecological analysis. The goal was to review the growth from the perspective of forest management practice, including specific recommendations for forest managers. The most important environmental variable in the growth of pedunculate oak forests in Serbia (Srem region) in the last 60 years was the Sava River water level. Due to the decrease in the water level and temperature increase in the last 30 years, a general decline in growth was observed. The months that displayed the most significant correlation between the growth, water level and temperature were April, May, June, July and August, while May was the most significant month as far as precipitation influence is concerned. Responses of the various tree groups due to different age and sites (flooded vs. non-flooded, virgin vs. managed forests) were observed, although all tree groups displayed fundamentally the same response to variations in environmental conditions. The “Stara Vratična” virgin forest was considered to be without future owing to the growth decline and lack of regeneration. Guidelines for forest managers were created. Overall directions were: to increase the groundwater level in the ecosystem during prolonged drought periods if possible; to promote regeneration, which is closer to nature; and to promote forest mixing.

Keywords

Quercus robur Water level Decline Climate change Dendroecology Groundwater 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the project “Studying climate change and its influence on the environment: impacts, adaptation and mitigation” (III 43007) financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia within the framework of integrated and interdisciplinary research for the 2011–2014 period, the project “Improvement of lowland forest management” financed by the “Vojvodinašume” public forest enterprise, Bilateral cooperation Serbia-Slovenia (451-03-3095/2014-09/50) and short-term scientific mission in Ljubljana for Dejan Stojanović by the COST Action FP 0903-Climate Change and Forest Mitigation and Adaptation in a Polluted Environment. Field and research work by Tom Levanič, Simon Poljanšek and Robert Krajnc was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency’s basic research project J4-5519 “Paleoclimate data enhances drought prediction in the W Balkan region”. The authors would especially like to thank Simon Poljanšek for his wholehearted support in sampling and sample processing, as well as Robert Krajnc for his valuable support during sample processing. Furthermore, we are very grateful to the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province for full research support. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their useful suggestions and improvement of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest in this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. B. Stojanović
    • 1
  • T. Levanič
    • 2
  • B. Matović
    • 1
  • S. Orlović
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Lowland Forestry and EnvironmentUniversity of Novi SadNovi SadSerbia
  2. 2.Slovenian Forestry InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia

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