Monitoring and analysis of development of natural forests
Forests left to long-term spontaneous development enable monitoring of natural development of an ecosystem and its components. Different forest development phases accompanied with changes in the intensity of soil surface shading, immediate impact of wind disturbances including subsequent natural succession as well as the impact of decaying wood on composition and structure of vegetation, are aspects which are hard to monitor in managed forests due to logging and subsequent management of target species renewal. The study of natural processes therefore brings valuable information for protection of endangered species or for improving procedures used in close to nature forest management.
In the sites of natural forests with a typical area of tens of hectares, detailed dendrometric, phytosociological and pedological surveys will be conducted and they will serve as a basis for theassessment of long-term development of tree layer, phytocoenoses, soil environment and their spatial variability and diversity. Special attention will be paid to the role of local historical contingency of sites' development, namely continuous human influence and natural disturbance influence.
Dendrometric and phytosociological surveys will be conducted on selected permanent sites according to a methodology developed by the research team and published in previous works (e.g. Vrška et al., 2002). Methodological procedure utilizes modern technologies supporting field data collection. This ensures accuracy and repeatability of the surveys together with high productivity. Besides the external investigation, subsequent processing and interpretation of the data are also significantly improved.
Soil environment will be surveyed in the network of deep soil probes established in 1970s which will be if necessary combined with additional soil profiles, mainly due to the need of more detailed description of pedo-diversity of the sites. All horizons of soil profiles were since 1970s at least twice described in detail and analysed in laboratory.
will ensure deeper understanding of the dynamics of natural ecosystems, including the role of humans in their development, and help to better define possible risks of further development and policies for future management of protected areas.