European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 331–342 | Cite as

Factors influencing vole bark damage intensity in managed mountain-forest plantations of Central Europe

  • Josef Suchomel
  • Luboš Purchart
  • Ladislav ČepelkaEmail author
  • Marta Heroldová
Original Paper


We studied the impact of vole bark gnawing in forest plantations dominated by European beech in two Czech mountain ranges (the Hrubý Jeseník Mts, the Moravskoslezské Beskydy Mts) with different habitat conditions. Of the four present vole species, only the field vole caused significant damage, the impact of the bank vole being inconclusive. In both ranges, the key factor determining the presence and abundance of voles (Microtus sp.) was the occurrence of grasses. Saplings in the Hrubý Jeseník Mts suffered significantly higher damage than those in the Moravskoslezské Beskydy Mts (13.6 vs. 3.3 % damaged seedlings), with degree of damage closely related to the abundance and spatial distribution of voles. We relate it to lower carrying capacity caused by poor herb layer and higher proportion of spruce monocultures surrounding the plantations in the Hrubý Jeseník Mts. Our results indicate that artificial beech regeneration is more successful in mixed and spruce forests with rich undergrowth (the Moravskoslezské Beskydy Mts) than in large spruce stands with reduced herb undergrowth (the Hrubý Jeseník Mts).


Bark gnawing Mountain forests Bank vole Field vole Fagus sylvatica 



This work was supported by the European Social Fund and the State Budget of the Czech Republic under the project ‘Indicators of Tree Vitality’—Reg. No. CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0265 and with support of RVO 68081766. The authors are very much obliged to Kevin Roche and Eva Čepelková for language correction and the anonymous reviewers for improving of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josef Suchomel
    • 1
  • Luboš Purchart
    • 2
  • Ladislav Čepelka
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marta Heroldová
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Fisheries, Hydrobiology and ApicultureMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Forest EcologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic

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