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Effects of Climate Change on Litter Production in a Quercetum petraeae-cerris Forest in Hungary

Author(s): KOTROCZÓ, Zsolt | VERES, Zsuzsa | FEKETE, István | PAPP, Mária | TÓTH, János Attila

Journal: Acta Silvatica & Lignaria Hungarica
ISSN 1786-691X

Volume: 8;
Start page: 31;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: oak forest | oak decline | Síkfokút Project | litter production | climate change

Climate change is a global problem. During the last century the increase of annual averagetemperature was 0.68°C, while the decrease of annual average of precipitation was 83 mm in Hungary.According to the long term meteorological data of Síkfkút forest ILTER site the annual averagetemperature increased while average of yearly precipitation decreased, the forest climate becamewarmer and dryer. These processes could considerably contribute to forest decline, not only in theQuercetum petraeae-cerris stand of Síkfkút, but everywhere in the country. Species composition andstructure of the forest have changed considerably, as 68% of sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and 16% ofTurkey oak (Quercus cerris) have died. Forest decline resulted in the breaking up of the formerlyclosed canopy, and consequently, in the formation of gaps in the forest. In the gaps, a secondary canopy developed with tree species of less forestry value. As a consequence, mass regeneration of field maple (Acer campestre) appeard in the gaps. The formation of gaps accelerated the warming and aridity of forests. In the article we answer the following question: how did climatic change and changing forest structure influence the leaf-litter production in the last four decades?
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