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Forests 2017, 8(8), 289; doi:10.3390/f8080289

Irregular Shelterwood Cuttings Promote Viability of European Yew Population Growing in a Managed Forest: A Case Study from the Starohorské Mountains, Slovakia

Department of Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 24, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovak Republic
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Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 9 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Sustainable Management)
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Abstract

The increasing probability of Taxus baccata (L.) decline given climate change brings forth many uncertainties for conservation management decisions. In this article, the authors present the effects of applying regeneration cuttings since the year 2000 on the viability of the understory yew population. By collecting data from a stand located at the centre of the largest population of European yew in Slovakia, containing approximately 160,000 individuals, and analysing tree-ring records from 38 sampled trees, the improved performance of yews, including stem growth, seed production, and number of regenerated individuals, was revealed. Thinning the canopy by removing 15% of the growing stock volume per decade, combined with the subsequent irregular shelterwood cuttings, was assessed as a useful strategy. Moreover, lower radial growth of females compared to males, but simultaneously their similar response to climate, suggests a possible trade-off between reproduction and growth. Release cuttings of up to 30% of the standing volume in the vicinity of the female trees, executed in the rainy summers following warmer winters, and consistent elimination of deer browsing, can further enhance the positive effects of applied cuts on yew viability. Overall, the suggested active measures could be considered as an effective option to preserve the unique biodiversity of calcareous beech-dominated forests in Central Europe. View Full-Text
Keywords: yew regeneration; growth rate; dioecy; temperate forests; dendroecology yew regeneration; growth rate; dioecy; temperate forests; dendroecology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sedmáková, D.; Saniga, M.; Kucbel, S.; Pittner, J.; Kýpeťová, M.; Jaloviar, P.; Bugala, M.; Vencurik, J.; Lukáčik, I. Irregular Shelterwood Cuttings Promote Viability of European Yew Population Growing in a Managed Forest: A Case Study from the Starohorské Mountains, Slovakia. Forests 2017, 8, 289.

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