Replacement of successive tree generations is a fundamental process which shapes the structure, dynamics and functioning of forest ecosystems. The canopy openings due to tree death and the presence of specific substrates for seed germination and seedling growth are critical to the establishment and further development of a new generation. On the other hand, the biological features and ecological requirements of individual species are also highly important factors; they determine where and when the new generation can take advantage of the conditions created by the death of old trees. To accurately predict the course of generation replacement in natural forests, the project produced an explicit and comprehensive evaluation of the temporal and spatial patterns of tree species establishment. The general objective of this project was to achieve a holistic grasp of the long-term dynamics of tree generations in a well-preserved natural forest of Europe.
Dynamics of tree generations was investigated in an exceptionally well preserved area of subalpine spruce forest on Mt. Babia Góra (Western Carpathians, Poland), which has retained its nearly primeval character (Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, Babia Góra National Park).