Factors influencing silvicultural value of cultures of silver fir Abies alba Mill.at higher altitudes in the Beskid Śląski and Beskid Żywiecki Mountains

Abstract
This paper provides results of an assessment on the survival rate, quality and vitality of seedlings of European silver fir in forest cultures five years after plantation. The assessment took place in autumn 2006. Measurements and scorings were made in the cultures (plots), and tree groups within them. Similarities and differences were analyzed at plots located in different forest regions and forest districts, with regard to the extent of canopy disintegration, and the presence or absence of protection against game. The results indicate poor condition throughout many parts of the European silver fir cultures. Generally, the quality and vitality of the seedlings was assessed to be average, with a smaller or larger tendency towards further deterioration. This points to difficulties in performing stand regeneration and in diversifying tree species composition in the higher locations of the Beskid Śląski and Beskid Żywiecki Mts, which experience extreme climatic conditions. This was particularly noticeable with respect to tree height and quality parameters, which were worsening along with an increase in the degree of canopy stand disintegration. Many European silver fir seedlings grew better on the fenced plots than on the unfenced, which indicates the need for protection of cultures against game and justifies the use of fencing.
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