Project introduction

The disturbances, i.e., disrupting the tree layer on small up to large surfaces, are important processes for the forest ecosystems. These include not only large-scale disturbances, which are typical for boreal forest ecosystems, or mountain forests of the temperate zone (Kindlmann et al. 2012). Forests in low and middle altitudes of Central Europe evolved for several millennia under the influence of human activity, which resulted in a gradual establishing of the forestry, which was characterized by relatively sparse and light stands, often eliminating a "soft" biomass and by a spontaneous renewal. The logging was carried out on the basis of selective forestry (Dreslerová 2012). A number of species were adapted to such mode of forestry. The current forest management, however, completely left such procedures. The current forest stands with a high canopy do not allow long-term and permanent existence of a number of species that were once common under the conditions of classical forestry management. Therefore, in order to maintain a high level of biodiversity, it is necessary to reintroduce some silvicultural measures on small portions of the forest area (in protected areas), which will be in accordance with that classic forestry management (non-standard economic methods).

Such measures are mostly aimed at clearing the tree layer (in forestry terminology to reduce stocking) by creating places, which have the character of Ecotone, and thereby create a transition between the forest and the treeless forest area. As it is well known, such ecotones are highly significant in terms of increasing the biodiversity. Typical examples are birds that can find there convenient nesting sites and food sources (Gram et al. 2003). Various studies therefore focused even on forest edges (e.g. Siitonen et al., 2005). Many species are known to be very sensitive to shade and canopy, such as a model case of the Primula veris (Lehtila et al. 2006), which was also observed in terms of its relationship to the management.

A situation is different in the forests of high to medium altitudes, which has historically evolved spontaneously, without a human influence. There may be specific measures primarily seen in leaving the forest to its spontaneous development (Kindlmann et al. 2012) and in close to nature forestry management, which simulates the forest ecosystem in various stages of the so-called small development cycle.

So far, manly the so-called close to nature forest management methods in the protected areas, i.e. creating richly structured forests and selective woodlands are being proposed (Vacek et al. 2007 Košulič 2010). These procedures, however, do not fit in all cases. Especially for the conservation of light-intensive species, they may be counterproductive, because normal economic forests with the diversified vertical stand structure are mostly fully occupied by the stand leaf area and an amount of light penetrating to the surface of the soil is minimal.

The forest management in the protected areas, including those of the Natura 2000, must have a specific character. Examples of good practice are specified on pages of the Europe (2014). Specific management practices are often also included in the care plan proposals. So far, however, a complete description of these procedures and (if possible) their general evaluation has yet been lacking. For example, the publication Michael, Petříček et al. (1999) specifies very few non-standard measures for forests that would lead to an increase in the biodiversity, such as coppices. Many other practices are mentioned in the discussion of conservation specialists (Matějka 2014).

Specific groups of species reacting to the state of the ecosystem in a more or less known manner, which are important for working of the examined ecosystems in terms of function, are currently being selected to assess the biodiversity. Such species (groups of species) are described as indicators (e.g. Bani et al., 2006) or as "umbrella species" (also Branton et Richardson 2011, Roberge et Angelstam 2004 Suter et al. 2002). In this light and in order to monitor vascular plants (vegetation) under the project proposed, the soil oribatids, also known as moss mites (oribatitids as species with a low mobility and high capability indicator), epigeic beetles (such as Heliola et al. 2001) and macromycetes were designed for use. Such groups of indicators are usually used in forest ecosystems to assess the impact of management (Paillet et al. 2010).

Aim of the project

The project will complement the existing system of knowledge concerning the forest management in the protected areas, including the Natura 2000 areas (e.g., in Czech). Although there is quite great awareness regarding the relationship between the biodiversity and management of forests (e.g. Niemela 1997, Forkner et al. 2006 Gram et al. 2003), it is necessary to propose and evaluate the use of "non-standard silvicultural measures." The main objective of the project is to create a catalogue of non-standard measures in forests, which will include a description of individual measures, possibilities of their application (decisions based on selective conditions), the methodology of implementation, evaluation of the impact on biodiversity, a suitability of use within the species protection, conservation of selected ecosystems, protection of natural processes and evaluation of the impact on productive capacity of the forest, including an example of a suitable application area, or an area, where it has already been applied. For particularly significant measures, a demonstration site to be used for a future detailed tracking will be selected and established.

Examples of measures that will be part of the catalogue:


Bani L., Massimino D., Bottoni L., and Massa R. (2006): A multiscale method for selecting indicator species and priority conservation areas: A case study for broadleaved forests in Lombardy, Italy. Conservation Biology, 20: 512-526.
Belsky A.J. and Blumenthal D.M. (1997): Effects of livestock grazing on stand dynamics and soils in upland forests of the interior West. Conservation Biology, 11: 315-327.
Boháč J., Šrubař V., Matějka K., Šťastný J. (2006): The impact of turism and landscape management in the Šumava National Park and the Šumava Landscape Protected Area on the epigeic beetle communities. Ekológia (Bratislava), 25(Supplement 3/2006): 41-52.
Branton M. and Richardson J.S. (2011): Assessing the Value of the Umbrella-Species Concept for Conservation Planning with Meta-Analysis. Conservation Biology, 25: 9-20.
Dreslerová D. (2012): Les v pravěké krajině II. Archeologické rozhledy, 64: 199-236.
EUROPA (2014): Good management practices for Natura 2000.
Fleischner T.L. (1994): Ecological Costs of Livestock Grazing in Western North-America. Conservation Biology, 8: 629-644.
Forkner R.E., Marquis R.J., Lill J.T., Le Corff J. (2006): Impacts of alternative timber harvest practices on leaf-chewing herbivores of oak. Conservation Biology, 20: 429-440.
Gram W.K., Porneluzi P.A., Clawson R.L., Faaborg J., Richter S.C. (2003): Effects of experimental forest management on density and nesting success of bird species in Missouri Ozark Forests. Conservation Biology, 17: 1324-1337.
Heliola J., Koivula M., Niemela J. (2001): Distribution of carabid beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) across a boreal forest-clearcut ecotone. Conservation Biology, 15: 370-377.
Hovi M., Kytö H., Rautio S.-K. [Eds.] (2008): Fire and forest. The International Forest Fire Symposium in Kajaani 13.-14.11.2007. In: Nature Protection Publications of Metsähallitus, Series A, Vol. 175. Metsähallitus, 71p.
Kindlmann P., Matějka K., Doležal P. (2012): Lesy Šumavy, lýkožrout a ochrana přírody. Karolinum, Praha, 326p.
Košulič M. (2010): Cesta k přírodě blízkému hospodářskému lesu. FSC ČR.
Kuusipalo J. Kangas J. (1994): Managing Biodiversity in A Forestry Environment. Conservation Biology, 8: 450-460.
Lehtila K., Syrjanen K., Leimu R., Garcia M.B., Ehrlen J. (2006): Habitat change and demography of Primula veris: Identification of management targets. Conservation Biology, 20: 833-843.
Lepšová A., Matějka K. (2009): Mykocenologický průzkum lesních ekosystémů na příkladu výškového transektu Plechý (Šumava) [Mycocoenological survey in forest ecosystems - example of the altitudinal gradient of Plechý Mt. (Bohemian Forest)] Příroda, Praha, 28: 163-183.
Matějka K. (2014): Jaké jsou silné a slabé stránky hospodaření v lesích v České republice z pohledu ochrany biodiversity?
Matějka K., Starý J. (2009): Differences in top-soil features between beech-mixture and Norway spruce forests of the Šumava Mts. Journal of Forest Science, 55(12): 540-555.
Míchal I., Petříček V. (eds.) (1999): Péče o chráněná území. II. Lesní společenstva. AOPK ČR, Praha, 714p.
Niemela J. (1997): Invertebrates and boreal forest management. Conservation Biology, 11: 601-610.
Pahlén T. (2000): Att restaurera forna tiders best?ndsstruktur. Ett exempel fr?n Jämtgaveln. Institutionen för vegetationsekologi, Ume?, 36p.
Paillet Y., Berges L., Hjalten J., Odor P., Avon C., Bernhardt-Romermann M., Bijlsma R.J., De Bruyn L., Fuhr M., Grandin U., Kanka R., Lundin L., Luque S., Magura T., Matesanz S., Meszaros I., Sebastia M.T., Schmidt W., Standovar T., Tothmeresz B., Uotila A., Valladares F., Vellak K., Virtanen R. (2010): Biodiversity Differences between Managed and Unmanaged Forests: Meta-Analysis of Species Richness in Europe. Conservation Biology, 24: 101-112.
Roberge J.M. Angelstam P. (2004): Usefulness of the umbrella species concept as a conservation tool. Conservation Biology, 18: 76-85.
Siitonen P., Lehtinen A., Siitonen M. (2005): Effects of forest edges on the distribution, abundance, and regional persistence of wood-rotting fungi. Conservation Biology, 19: 250-260.
Similä M., Junninen K. (eds) (2012): Ecological restoration and management in boreal forests - best practices from Finland. Metsähallitus, Natural Heritage Services, Vantaa, 54p.
Suter W., Graf R.F., Hess R. (2002): Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and avian biodiversity: Testing the umbrella-species concept. Conservation Biology, 16: 778-788.
Vacek S., Simon J., Remeš J. et al. (2007): Obhospodařování bohatě strukturovaných a přírodě blízkých lesů. Lesnická práce, Kostelec n. Č.l.
van Uytvancka J., Maes D., Vandenhaute D., Hoffmann M. (2008): Restoration of woodpasture on former agricultural land: The importance of safe sites and time gaps before grazing for tree seedlings. Biological Conservation, 141: 78-88.

Project Silviculture measures to improve forest biodiversity in protected areas
Project number EHP-CZ02-OV-1-015-2014, Supported by grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway