CR prepress abstract  -  doi: 10.3354/cr01461

Forest ecosystem services affected by natural disturbances, climate and land-use changes in the Tatra Mountains

Peter Fleischer, Viliam Pichler, Peter Fleischer Jr., Ladislav Holko, František Máliš, Erika Gömöryová*, Pavel Cudlín, Jan Holeksa, Zuzana Michalová, Zuzana Homolová, Jaroslav Škvarenina, Katarína Střelcová, Pavol Hlaváč


ABSTRACT: Consequences of large-scale disturbances magnified by climate extremes and land-use changes on Norway spruce forests in the Tatra Mountains (Slovakia) are assessed in the article. The studied area is part of the territory of the Tatra National Park (TANAP). The Drivers–Pressures–State–Impacts–Responses (DPSIR) framework was applied to evaluate how the ecosystems and their ecosystem services (ES) are affected. The state of the ecosystems and their potential for provisioning ecosystem services before and after disturbances is expressed by a set of indicators derived mostly from long-term ecological research conducted in the TANAP. The differences are classified by a standardised change index (CI). Ten years after the major windthrow disturbance in 2004, all ES were still below the pre-disturbance state. The most pronounced decline is found in cultural (avg CI = 0.69) and provisioning ecosystem services (avg CI = 0.86). Regulating services are recovering faster (avg CI = 0.97) with some indicators exceeding the state prior to the disturbances. Significant changes took place at the tree line, which is a new phenomenon not known from previous disturbances. Despite a gradual recovery of the ecosystem state and functioning, the analysis confirms a serious risk by the regional climate change projections. It also points out an increasing importance of sustainable forest management for safeguarding ES under the changing conditions.