The species composition of the forests

The species, age and spatial composition of the forests in this territory have seen relatively large changes compared to the original forests. The reconstruction of the original tree species composition is presented in the table below.

Comparison of the current and natural (reconstructed) composition of tree species in the forest ecosystems in %.

Tree species SM JD BO Pine (Pinus mugo) Other coniferous trees BK KL Pioneer Heard wood treesOther heard wood trees Forest free areaTotal
Natural representation51 13 2* 2(2,39) Yew tree + approx. 0.10 21 2 9 +approx. 0,40 - 100
Current *** representation84** 1(0,92) 4 2(2,38) introd. +0,13 6 +0,23 2 +0,08 1(1,44) 100
SM - Norway spruce (Picea abies), JD - European silver fir (Abies alba), BO - Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Bog pine (Pinus rotundata), Dwarf-mountain pine (Pinus mugo) + (Pinus pseudopumilio), BK - Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica), KL - Sycamore Maple tree (Acer pseudoplatanus)

The smallest changes in tree species composition occurred in the highest altitudes in the 7th (Beech-spruce) and 8th (Spruce) forest vegetation zone, in altitudes above 1,100 m.a.s.l., with a large spread of acidic beech spruce wood, acid spruce wood, peaty upland spruce wood, spruce uplands, dwarf-pine uplands etc. Towards lower altitudes, where the forest was more easily accessible, we can observe progressively bigger changes over the expected composition of the natural tree species. The moor vegetation, such as dwarf and bog pines and their hybrids are the least affected so far. The lowest altitudes have currently cultivated forests with a majority of indigenous tree species of local and foreign origin.

The significant depletion of species diversity occurring in the forest ecosystems is due to previous management. Present day Šumava forests consist of almost 81% spruce, although the average natural representation used to be between 30-40%. The current representation of fir is less than 2 %. The representation of beech tree is around 5 %. The coniferous trees spread over 91.6% and hard wood trees over 8.4% of the Šumava territory. In more than 40% of the original forest, the spruce was in the minority (the forests used to be dominated by beech and fir, to a lesser extent sycamore, elm, with cherry and yew trees in the minority), the other third of the original forest was occupied by mixed tree species, around 40% (again, mostly beech with fir and sycamore). Only at the highest Šumava altitudes, in about a quarter of the area, was it dominated by spruce with minor additions of rowan trees and the culminating occurrence of beech and fir trees. On a number of specific peat bog habitats there was dwarf and bog pine, and the upland pine forests used to be home to the Scots pine. Succession areas used to be temporarily occupied by birch, pine, aspen and many species of willow trees. Today's forests have a significantly increased presence of the more economic spruce tree (about 86 %). On the other hand, the fir tree only has a fraction of the original representation - about 1 / 20, sycamore only 1 / 16, beech tree approximately 1 / 5 to 1 / 4 and for the yew tree, which used to appear at altitudes above 1,000 m, today there remains just the last 180 trees.

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