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Forest Ecology: Beech Forest Types
For Student Groups

We study structure, vegetation, and soils of two contrasting forest sites using scientific methods, diagnose stages of ecosystem development, and identify abiotic factors determining vegetation differentiation.

Book Forest Ecology: Beech Forest Types

Age
16 to 22 years
Duration
1 day
Maximum number of participants
22

Experiments

  • Survey of forest structure and vegetation
  • Comprehensive soil survey including grain size determination and pH measurement in all soil horizons and organic layer for assessing nutrient and water availability and pattern of ecosystem matter cycling
  • Exploration of research facilities on a forest ecosystem research and monitoring site
  • Comparison of sun and shade crowns of seven tree species on a canopy walkway
  • Identification of determining abiotic factors and plant communities with forest indicator species groups and ecological indicator values

The superior competitiveness of beech and the diversity of ecological beech forest types in Central Europe are a worldwide unique phenomenon. Accompanied by completely different sets of plant species, beech can dominate sites on acid as well as on neutral or basic soils with contrasting patterns of ecosystem matter cycling. The two beech stands we will visit exactly match these conditions.
At the first, more complex site students work under intensive guidance, at the second site they will work on their own in groups, with support as required. At a nearby research site, we explore facilities for long-term monitoring of ecosystem carbon, water and nutrient balance and talk about climate change, eutrophication, naturalness, forestry and the global timber industry. At XLAB we search causes for vegetation differentiation, validate our results by measurements, and relate them to forest community type, pattern of matter cycling, soil characteristics and geological conditions.
 

Keywords

Forest structure and vegetation; soil survey; grain size determination and pH measurement in all soil horizons and organic layer; nutrient and water availability; pattern of ecosystem matter cycling; exploration of research facilities on a forest ecosystem research and monitoring site; comparison of sun and shade crowns; canopy walkway; identification of determining abiotic factors and plant communities with forest indicator species groups and ecological indicator values