"Natural forests" in Europe - a very short survey

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#1)  "Natural forests" in Europe - a very short survey

Postby Quercus » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:17 pm

survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VQQBRQF it will take you up to 3 min

Dear Colleagues,

"Natural forest" is not a clear cut concept in Europe. Putting aside the concept of "climax" we adapt a variety of criteria, according to which we define an ecosystem naturalness. Adapted models of a "natural forest" may differ, among other things, in stand species composition. The present experiment is aimed to assess the model variability within relatively uniform environmental conditions of lowland temperate Europe, rich mesic sites (broad-leaf forest habitats).

Imagine a forest in such conditions (lowland, temperate zone, rich mesic [neither dry nor wet]), which is a result of natural processes. Direct impact of man (including such in detectable past) should be excluded. This will lead to establishment of a certain set of species. The questions are not about the percent share of a species in the canopy, but about the probability with which such processes will allow a species to perpetuate there. [This paragraph was added following the advice of two Czech Colleages - Thank you!]

This is why I take liberty to ask you to participate in a short 1-3 minute quiz dedicated to professionals and students of advanced forestry, biology or environmental science courses. Please encourage also your students/colleagues to fill this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VQQBRQF. Feel free to forward my message further to those to whom it might be of interest.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. As soon as the questionnaire results are collated they will be shared with all who are interested. The survey will be open until April 27th.

Looking forward to feedback from you, with best wishes and greetings.


Andrzej Bobiec, PhD, Ass. Professor
Katedra Agroekologii i Architektury Krajobrazu
Wydział Biologiczno-Rolniczy
Uniwersytet Rzeszowski

Agroecology and Landscape Architecture
Faculty of Biology and Agriculture
University of Rzeszów

ul. M. Ćwiklińskiej 2
35-601 Rzeszów
tel. 0048-178721785
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#2)  Re: "Natural forests" in Europe - a very short survey

Postby Don » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:49 pm

First, I wanted to say that you have addressed a forum that embraces 'natural forests', and you are among friends here.
Your English is excellent, sad to say my fluency is limited to English. That said, I would respectfully suggest that in a survey request about natural forests, introducing the topic with the phrase "clear cut" might not be the best choice of words.  A technique employed by too many loggers, for far too long in our own country, "clearcutting" involved the logging of all trees within the boundaries of the sale unit.  There are sizes and shapes which have purpose and integrity, but not on the scale historically used.  
Have you a definition of natural forests that you find complete? I notice that you refer to excluding man, specifically in the detectable past. Was there a level of presence that man was a part of the natural forest, prior to him being "detectable"?
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
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#3)  Re: "Natural forests" in Europe - a very short survey

Postby Quercus » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:59 am

Hi Don

Thank you for kind comments. Talking about "exclusion of man" I didn't want to be a purist and exclude occasional visits or even use (such as hunting, picking berries, mushrooms, occasional felling of single trees) - such interference with the natural course usually doesn't change or re-direct it. I have been addressing the intution rather than strict definitions (actually I am not aware of such) or thresholds. The intuition assuming that internal dynamics of the forest ecosystem is a leading factor. Man, from his very nature, is not a forest species, at least the temperate climate man. I am not an anthropologist, perhaps some primitive cultures in equatorial Africa or America are adapted to live permanently in dense forests, but in Europe and N America we'd always been clearing or adapting forest ecosystems to satisfy the needs of our communities settled outside forests or in heavily modified woods. Such assumption considerably confines "natural forests" to some preserved pockets either by long-lasting legal institutions or by natural barriers (the latter hardly applies to lowland forests in temperate climate...).

Finally, yes, "clear-cut" was not a perfect adjective in that context :)

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