Transformation of pine forests to a close-to nature forest management in Ukraine and with special consideration of resilience to fire and climate extremes such as drought
The project âTransformation of pine forests to a close-to nature forest management in Ukraine and with special consideration of resilience to fire and climate extremes such as droughtâ is a joint research and development project by the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE) (Eberswalde, Germany), the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) (Freiburg, Germany), the Ukrainian National Forestry University (UNFU) (Lviv, Ukraine) and the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) (Kyiv, Ukraine). The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture and has a two-years project duration (1 May 2020 to 30 April 2022).
The project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Peter Spathelf (www.hnee.de/spathelf) and Felipe de Miguel Diez, from the Faculty of Forest and Environment of HNE Eberswalde.
Images (left to right): Scots pine stand with oak in the understorey als example for forest conversion I Scots pine clear cut with soil preparation I Scots pine natural regeneration after clear cut
The project is covering two main thematic fields (with various thematic elements):
- Transformation of pine forests to a close-to nature forest management in Ukraine: the State Forestry Enterprise Lviv and the Training Forestry Entreprise Stradch â a model for close-to-nature and multifunctional forest management adapted to climate change
- Ukrainian Forests and Climate Change: close-to-nature forest management and fire management solutions for increasing the resilience of pine forests in Ukraine to drought and wildfire
The first thematic field is developed by Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, the Ukrainian National Forestry University and the forest entreprises Lviv and Stradch.
Scots pine in Ukraine is still considered a relatively robust tree species, although it does not grow well in the marginal areas of its distribution, e.g. in the steppe zone, and is often damaged by forest fires. The conversion of pure stands of the same age into mixed stands of different ages as a measure for climate adaptation is therefore becoming increasingly important in Ukraine. In addition to the application of long-term methods for the rejuvenation of pine under canopy, Ukrainian forest enterprises are increasingly committed to intensive management, with the aim of obtaining well-structured vigorous and robust mixed stands for optimising value production.
Moreover, in Ukraine, to date clear cuttings have dominated, and the cut areas are mostly artificially rejuvenated by planting. This type of age- class forest management, where mostly pure stands are established, not only leads to a considerable loss in value, but also to a reduction in the resistance and resilience of these forests against negative factors of climate change. The conversion of these forests into structured species-rich mixed forests is therefore seen as a central measure for creating resilient forests for the future.
The research concentrates in particular on:
- the investigation of the potential of pine natural regeneration for reforestation of bare areas,
- the identification of suitable thinning strategies for the management of vital (resilient) and qualitatively valuable pine (mixed) forests,
- the implementation of alternative forms of regeneration to clear-cutting,
- the conversion of even-aged homogeneous into uneven-aged mixed forests,
- dendroecological analyses of beech, oak and pine for analysing climate-growth relationships,
- analyses of enrichment plantings.
To successfully conduct these analyses permanent experimental plots and marteloscopes are being established in the Lviv and Stradch forest enterprises. These plots will later be used for practical seminars and excursions for students and forest workers.
The second thematic field is conducted under the leadership of the Global Fire Monitoring Centre, together with Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) at Kyiv, Ukraine.