In the last few decades, in Europe as in rest of the world, the interest in the long-term and extensive monitoring of forest ecosystems has intensified. The reason for this is the lack of original, reference and long-term series of data necessary for the evaluation of anthropogenic impact in relation to natural variability. Old-growth forest reserves are recognized as the reference state of naturalness whose monitoring, together with monitoring of other non-economic forests, provides valuable information that helps explaining the natural dynamics and variability of ecosystems. Croatia, in comparison with most Central European countries, has a relatively natural forest ecosystems in terms of species composition, structure and function. There are number of valuable forest areas with characteristics of a natural old-growth forest.The project aims to consolidate knowledge and establish a long-term interdisciplinary research with one common goal – understanding and monitoring the dynamics of forest ecosystems. The project is designed on two levels of intensity: 1) extensive monitoring-EM (I) and 2) intensive monitoring-IM (II). EM would result in the 50-60 plots across the Croatia while five of the most representative old-growth forest sites will be the object of IM. The results of this monitoring will be the piece in the European puzzle, but very important to the global understanding of the functioning of natural forest ecosystems. Continuous monitoring and experimental research plots are certainly the best legacy for future generations of scientists, who will with ever evolving technology and methods be able to improve understanding of the complex dynamics of forest ecosystems and thereby contribute their knowledge and ultimately preservation.
Project duration: 01/09/2015 - 31/08/2018
The project is funded: Croatian science foundation (www.hrzz.hr)