Spruce- and beech-dominated primary forests in the western carpathians differ in terms of forest structure and bird assemblages, independently of disturbance regimes
Keywords:beech, birds, Carpathian Mountains, disturbance history, forest structure, mountain temperate forests, spruce
Mountain spruce- and beech-dominated forests (SDPF and BDPF) are of major importance in temperate Europe. However, information on the differences between their historical disturbance regimes, structures, and biodiversity is still incomplete. To address this knowledge gap, we established 118 circular research plots across 18 primary forest stands. We analysed the disturbance history of the last 250 years by dendrochronological methods and calculated disturbance frequency, severity, and timing. We also measured forest structure (DBH, tree density, volume of deadwood, and other parameters). Breeding bird populations were examined by point count method during the spring seasons 2017–2018 (SDPF) and 2019–2020 (BDPF). Using direct ordination analysis, we compared the disturbance history, structure and bird assemblage in both forest types. While no differences were found regarding disturbance regimes between forest types, forest structure and bird assemblages were significantly different. SDPF had a significantly higher density of cavities and higher canopy openness, while higher tree species richness and more intense regeneration was found in BDPF. Bird assemblage showed higher species richness in BDPF, but lower total abundance. Most bird species which occurred in both forest types were more numerous in spruce-dominated forests, but more species occurred exclusively in BDPF. Further, some SDPF- preferring species were found in naturally disturbed patches in BDPF. We conclude that although natural disturbances are important drivers of primary forest structures, differences in the bird assemblages in the explored primary forest types were largely independent of disturbance regimes.
Copyright (c) 2023 Ondrej Kameniar, Michal Baláž, Marek Svitok, Martin Mikoláš, Matej Ferenčík, Michal Frankovič, Dheeraj Ralhan, Rhiannon Gloor, Miroslav Svoboda
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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