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State of Polish mountain forests: past, present, and futureAuthor(s): Krystyna Grodzinska; Grazyna Szarek-Lukaszewska
Source: In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael J.; Schilling, Susan L., tech. coords. Proceedings of the international symposium on air pollution and climate change effects on forest ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-166. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 27-34
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionMountains occupy only 3 percent of Poland. They are the northern part of the European arc of the Carpathian and Sudety Mountains, extending about 700 km along the southern Polish border. They are of medium height (about 1,500 m., maximum 2,600 m. a.s.l.), and diversified in terms of climate, geology, soils, vegetation, and anthropogenic impacts. The forest vegetation of the Sudety and Carpathian Mountains forms three elevational zones. Forests occur in the foothills (as high as 600 m. a.s.l.), the lower mountain forest zone (as high as 1,250 m. a.s.l.) and the upper montane forest zone (as high as 1,500 m. a.s.l.). The original lower mountain forests consist mainly of the fir (Abies alba Mill.) and beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), while upper montane forests consist of spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.). Centuries of economic activity have changed the species composition of mountain forests. The share of the spruce has increased considerably, and the percentage of the fir and beech has decreased significantly. In the Sudety and western part of the Carpathian Mountains prevalence of spruce is the highest (83 percent), while in the eastern part of the Carpathians, it does not exceed 10 percent. The percentage of beech in the Sudety and western part of Carpathian forests is below 20 percent, but about 40 percent in the eastern part of the Carpathians. Severe weather conditions, frequently poor habitats and improper management and considerable air pollution occurring in the past 50 years, followed by infestations of primary and secondary insects and spread of parasite fungi, have led to considerable destruction of mountain forests. According to forecasts, the area of totally destroyed and severely damaged mountain forests will increase considerably through the year 2010. Deterioration of forest health will proceed from west to east. Protection of forest health against deterioration requires reduction of industrial emissions, changing existing forests into less sensitive habitats more compatible with their carrying capacity, and recultivation of contaminated forests.
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CitationGrodzinska, Krystyna; Szarek-Lukaszewska, Grazyna. 1998. State of Polish mountain forests: past, present, and future. In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael J.; Schilling, Susan L., tech. coords. Proceedings of the international symposium on air pollution and climate change effects on forest ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-166. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 27-34
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