Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Ecological restoration of natural disturbances in forests

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.01.01  Biotechnical sciences  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Forest - forestry 

Code Science Field
B430  Biomedical sciences  Sylviculture, forestry, forestry technology 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
natural disturbance, windbreak, snowbreak, forest, fire, insect infestation, forest restoration, salvage logging, risk assessment, risk mapping, silviculture for stability, secondary succession, planting, sowing, multicriteria decision support model
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (24)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29881  Tomaž Adamič    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  32 
2.  02749  PhD Marko Bohanec  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  637 
3.  10801  PhD Andrej Bončina  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  516 
4.  11958  PhD Robert Brus  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  740 
5.  08376  PhD Igor Dakskobler  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  697 
6.  15660  PhD Marko Debeljak  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  307 
7.  11253  PhD Jurij Diaci  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Head  2011 - 2014  716 
8.  11130  PhD Sašo Džeroski  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  1,197 
9.  27615  PhD Andrej Ficko  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  166 
10.  29426  PhD Dejan Firm  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2011 - 2014  57 
11.  26070  PhD Kristjan Jarni  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  98 
12.  32063  Petra Kajdiž  Biotechnical sciences  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014 
13.  28501  PhD Matija Klopčič  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2011 - 2014  176 
14.  27605  PhD Milan Kobal  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  350 
15.  20842  PhD Aleksander Marinšek  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2012  382 
16.  27544  PhD Thomas Andrew Nagel  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2011 - 2014  233 
17.  25666  PhD Aleš Poljanec  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  247 
18.  24368  PhD Andrej Rozman  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  113 
19.  21043  PhD Dušan Roženbergar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  229 
20.  30432  Tihomir Rugani    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  36 
21.  10264  PhD Primož Simončič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  702 
22.  32898  PhD Tina Simončič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  82 
23.  22592  PhD Urša Vilhar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  417 
24.  22279  PhD Bernard Ženko  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  172 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  89,961 
2.  0404  Slovenian Forestry Institute  Ljubljana  5051673000  11,867 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,539 
4.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,722 
The strength and frequency of extreme weather events has been increasing in recent decades worldwide. At the same time, forests are becoming less resistant to natural disturbances (i.e. windthrow, fire, insect outbreaks) due to changes in forest structure and composition, environmental pollution, decreased tending, and ageing of forests. More than a third of the annual cut in Europe and Slovenia is for sanitary reasons, mainly due to natural disturbances. In the future, neglected tending and climate change will almost certainly result in more problems. To lessen the impacts on ecological and economical functions of forests, it is necessary to act in the areas of: 1) disturbance prevention (e.g. natural disturbance risk mapping and tending measures for stability); 2) improvement of post-disturbance forest restoration; and 3) effective decision-making after disturbance events. Restoration is associated with risks to property and people, and significant costs, so that all actions have to be optimized. However, in Slovenia research in this area is limited. Moreover, past forest restoration efforts have not been evaluated over longer time periods. Most of the research abroad deals with the vulnerability and post-disturbance restoration of even-aged conifer plantations. The originality of the proposed project is the study of post-disturbance restoration of natural forests as well as conifer plantations, which have been subject to gradual conversion for decades, resulting in multi-layered, mixed stands with advance regeneration. Therefore, our results will significantly contribute to the development of close-to-nature forestry in Europe. In addition, conventional post-disturbance forest restoration includes total salvage logging and planting, although tree islands, woody debris, pioneer trees and advance regeneration are vital for restoration of the site, stand and biodiversity. Therefore, in some cases "non-intervention" may be economically and environmentally more appropriate than salvage logging and planting, e.g. in less accessible forests with low timber value with low risk for forest health, and where forest protective functions are less important. Efficient forest restoration requires coordinated action to ensure forest health, multifunctionality, and ecosystem services, while also prevent economic losses. Optimal decisions regarding forest restoration methods can be improved by multicriteria decision support models, which are still poorly developed in this field. The project objectives are to: 1) examine the factors that influence vulnerability of forests to natural disturbance, forest disturbance risk mapping and to propose measures for improving forest stability (work package 1 - WP1); ??2) assess ecological and economic factors associated with salvage logging versus non-intervention (WP2); 3) compare natural regeneration and planting (WP3); 4) develop a multicriteria decision support model for planning (WP4); and 5) synthesize and transfer the results to multiple stakeholders (WP5). Effective post-disturbance forest restoration requires participation of experts from various disciplines; therefore the project is interdisciplinary and brings together all the key research organizations dealing with forest ecosystems in Slovenia. The project is important for the forestry practice because it will improve methods of disturbance prevention and forest restoration, enhance decision-making, and facilitate knowledge transfer into practice through conferences and publications. The project will result in: 1) improved management of natural disturbance events (public administration), 2) significant reduction in costs for artificial regeneration, and 3) advancement of nature conservation (natural regeneration, abandonment of salvage logging). With the involvement of international centres for forest restoration and complementary international projects, we expect the project to be of major importance in the European context.
Significance for science
The ecological role of natural disturbances, however, is a stark contrast to the destructive nature of disturbances from the perspective of economics and protective functioning. As a result, in forested areas worldwide, salvage logging and artificial regeneration are commonly practiced to recover economic value of dead trees, increase future economic value, and re-establish protection functions following natural disturbances. If predictions of increased frequency and severity of natural disturbances due to climate change prove true, widespread salvage logging and forest restoration will be a likely outcome. As such, gaining a better understanding of the ecological, social, and economic impacts of natural disturbance and forest restoration remains an important task for foresters and ecologists alike. Project provided several important conclusions for forest management after disturbances in the future. Assessing the spatial extent and type of disturbances in Slovenia is important for comparison of current situation and future trends on regional and European level. We contributed important findings regarding effects of salvage logging after medium scale disturbances (that are the most common in central part of Europe) in mixed beech forest (main forest type this part of Europe), since there are no such studies. Results show there were no significant differences on forest restoration between salvage logging and site without intervention. On the karst area (which is a part of Mediterranean, where forest fire is a major disturbance) no intervention was better option than machine harvesting, which damages shallow soils. Comparison of natural and artificial restoration indicated that planting is important on rich fertile soils and on site where protection functions of forest are important, while on several other sites natural regeneration was sufficient. These conclusions are important for whole central Europe that has similar climate conditions. We also discovered that overabundant ungulate populations have negative effect on restoration of palatable broadleaves, which was also reported, form other countries. We were the first to establish decision support model for restoration technique after disturbance. ForestMAS model that simulates secondary succession consists of numerous ecological parameters of tree species as well as environmental factors (exposition, inclination, soil depth) and is therefore less "mechanistic" than similar models and better reflects ecological conditions.
Significance for the country
Several project results give an insight in effect and extent of different disturbances in last period, success of different restoration techniques (natural, artificial, no intervention) after disturbances and criteria in process of decision for restoration technique and modelling succession after disturbance. Project conclusions were implemented in curriculum of lectures and field excursions on Department of Forestry. Developed ForestMAS model simulates secondary succession of forest after planned harvests, land abandonment or disturbances. Multicriteria decision support model uses less of the data input and is therefore useful when deciding for optimal restoration technique in practise. Project involved numerous (17) diploma (BSc and MSc) theses and a PhD of a young researcher. Results were directly presented to public via interviews and public statements after severe sleet storm that hit Slovenian forests in 2014. We co-organized the conference on forest restoration after disturbances at Slovenian Forestry Institute in 2012. We cooperated at training for restoration after sleet storm in Idrija. Restoration methods were presented for forest owners at farmers fair AGRA in Gornja Radgona. We collaborated on forest restoration training in Germany (Baden-Württemberg). We published several professional and scientific papers. Another four scientific papers will be published, two of them are already in peer review process. PhD thesis is in the phase of conclusion. Conclusions can be directly implemented in forest practise. Results regarding restoration after fires in Kras area, sanitary logging after disturbances in mixed beech forest, experience regarding planting, direct seeding and natural regeneration can be already implemented after next disturbance. Implementation can drastically reduce the costs of artificial regeneration.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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