Plant Ecology

, Volume 170, Issue 2, pp 243–265

Vegetation of beech forests in the Rychlebské Mountains, Czech Republic, re-inspected after 60 years with assessment of environmental changes

  • Radim Hédl


From 1941–;1944 nearly 30 phytosociological relevés were completed by F. K. Hartmann in the Rychlebské Mountains, a typical mountainous area in northeastern Czech Republic. Of the original plots still covered with adult grown beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest, 22 were resampled in 1998 and 1999. In order to describe the recent vegetation variability of the sites 57 relevés were recorded. Changes in vegetation were estimated using relative changes in species density and ordinations (PCA, RDA). Environmental changes were assessed using Ellenberg indicator values when no direct measurements were available. A decline in species diversity has been documented, particularly, many species occurring frequently in deciduous forests with nutrient and moisture well-supplied soils around neutral have decreased. In contrast, several light-demanding, acid- and soil desiccation-tolerant species have increased. Natural succession, quantified as forest age, contributed slightly to these changes. In Ellenberg indicator values, a decline in F (soil moisture), R (soil calcium) and N (ecosystem productivity), and an increase in L (understorey light) were shown. This is interpreted as the influence of modified forestry management and of airborne pollutants. Intensified logging caused the canopy to open and soil conditions to worsen. The latter is most likely also due to acid leaching of soil cations (Ca, K, Na). This caused a decline in soil productivity, thus the effect of nitrification could not be detected. The original relevés may have differed in size influencing the results.

Acidification Beech forests Central Europe Ellenberg indicator values Forestry management Repeated sampling 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radim Hédl
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geology and Pedology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University of Agriculture and ForestryBrnoCzech Republic

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