Open Access

Gap regeneration and dynamics: the case study of mixed forests at Křtiny in the Czech Republic


Gap regeneration remains the best silviculture technique for sustainable forest regeneration in mixed forests. The study examined tree species composition, diversity and dynamics of natural regeneration in gaps under three contrasting forest stands at Křtiny in the Czech Republic. In spring 2013, experimental gap design begins, when semi-permanent 1 m2 circular sub-sampling plots along North-South-East-West transects were delineated under 6 selected natural canopy openings ≤ 20 m2. In winter 2013/14, these naturally originated openings were artificially enlarged to the current gap sizes ranging between 255 and 1149 m2 through group felling. Natural regeneration in gaps was measured four times: from the growing season before disturbance (BD) in 2013 to the next three consecutive growing seasons after disturbance in 2014 – 2016, respectively. Seven (7) new species with light demanding growth strategy that were previously not present at mother stands were occurring there during the first growing season after disturbance (FGS), yielding the highest taxa (14 species) and diversity (Shannon diversity index, H = 1.7) while BD attained the lowest (8 species; H = 0.9), respectively. Study site being part of Fagus sylvatica vegetation community and providing favorable natural conditions for the optimal growth of Picea abies significantly explains the regeneration dominance of these species in gap regeneration from BD until the third growing season after disturbance (TGS), respectively. Small scale gap-disturbance contributed to the higher regeneration densities of all studied species during FGS. However, drought, competition from other life forms, and browsing activities substantially caused a progressive decline in natural regeneration during three consecutive years after disturbance.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other