volume: 32, issue: 1
volume: 43, issue:
The Mediterranean forest region has been exposed to anthropogenic impacts for centuries, and the constant biotic and abiotic factors, together with increasing climate change, have hindered the proper management of forest ecosystems. This study presents the results of multiyear, systematic, specific and practical monitoring of the conversion of holm oak coppices using the principles of the shelterwood system. It also presents the growth and development dynamics of the stand on a permanent experimental plot from 1997 to 2017. The research was performed in the Eumediterranean vegetation zone of coniferous forest (Forest Management, Buzet branch, Pula Forestry Office, Magran Cuf management unit, compartment 83a). The plot has all the properties of a holm oak and manna ash forests (Orno-Quercetum ilicis H-ić/1956/1958). The basic elements of stand structure were monitored: diameter at breast height (DBH), tree height, horizontal crown projection, crown ground shading (light) and the appearance and abundance of all woody vegetation, with special emphasis on the growth and development of young generations of holm oak from seed. The paper also describes the threats limiting growth, development and survival of holm oak from seed (strong shooting tendencies of coppiced holm oak and bay laurel trees, excessive presence of shrubs). Forest management requires effective, timely and repeated tending to thin stands (already under the canopy), while also protecting young trees from wild game. The statistical method of interpolation determined the trends of stand development; trend equation with coefficient of determination (R2) is very high. This indicates the growth and development of the stand in the direction of renewal of holm oak stands. Shelterwood cutting, with regular and timely tending of young generations of trees through a seven-year regeneration period, resulted in a high quality young high forest of holm oak, the first of its kind in the broader Mediterranean area. The indigenous stands of holm oak, as the fundamental climatogenic coniferous species of the Mediterranean species, have multiple roles such as protection from erosion, resilience to biotic and abiotic factors and forest fires, tourism and landscape functions, and other general forest functions, and therefore deserve intensive and ongoing research. Holm oak stands also play a part in conserving genetic and biological diversity, the potential and persistence of forest ecosystems, improving stand structure, stability and resilience of forest ecosystems to climate change, and in the long-term increase the commercial value of forest stands in the Croatian Mediterranean.