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Forest regeneration within the treeline ecotone in the Giant Mountains under climate change
Cudlín, Ondřej ; Chumanová-Vávrová, Eva ; Edwards-Jonášová, Magda ; Heřman, Michal ; Štěpánek, Petr ; Cudlín, Pavel
Natural regeneration of mountain spruce forests began in the Giant Mountains 25 years ago after a reduction\nof severe and long-enduring air pollution. This process has been influenced by climatic change.\nThe aim of our contribution was to present background data for the potential elevational shift of spruce\nregeneration under conditions of climate change. These upslope shifts may also depend on constraints\nsuch as climate extremes, unfavourable soil conditions, absence of ectomycorrhizal symbionts, and lack of\nmicrosites suitable for seedlings. Since 2014, we have studied the main driving factors affecting Norway\nspruce regeneration, and in particular soil conditions, ectomycorrhizal symbionts, ground vegetation cover,\nand forest health, in six transects across the treeline ecotone located on a NW-to-NE transect through\nthe Giant Mountains. Microclimatic measurements showed that the mean difference in growing season\ntemperature between the montane spruce forests and forests at the treeline was −0.54°C. The model\nHADGEM2 predicted that in 20 years the temperature at the treeline will be similar to the current one at\nmontane elevations. The difference in prevailing soil types between the montane spruce forests and forests\nat the current treeline (i.e. podzol vs. ranker type) could be an important factor limiting success of the\nupslope spreading of spruce. Furthermore, areas covered by microsites favourable for natural spruce regeneration,\nespecially spruce litter patches, decaying wood, mosses, and Avenella flexuosa stands, were\nshown to decrease with increasing elevation. It is likely that spruce will move upslope in response to climate\nchange, but the process is likely to be slow or even blocked for some periods, especially by unfavourable\nsoil conditions and climatic extremes.

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