Witness of the Little Ice Age : one of the oldest spruces in Poland (Śnieżnik Massif, Sudetes, SW Poland)


During an interdisciplinary study of the mire “Torfowisko pod Małym Śnieżnikiem”, a very old specimen of the Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) was encountered. The aim of the present work was to perform a detailed examination of this tree, to compare it to other spruce trees on the mire, and to provide support for establishing protection for this tree stand. Tree ring cores were sampled at 1.3 m above ground using a Pressler borer, in two field campaigns: June and July 2023, the latter campaign aiming to find the oldest trees. A total of 46 trees were sampled, yielding 84 measured radii. Tree ring widths were measured down to 0.01 mm under a stereomicroscope. The oldest sampled tree yielded a total of 370 tree rings in the two radii, representing the period 1653–2022. The average tree ring width for this oldest tree equals 0.33 mm/year, and shows low values (on average 0.19 mm/year) for the period 1742–1943, i.e., during the Little Ice Age cooling. Changes in the tree ring width coincide with periods of cooling and warming in the nearby Tatra Mountains. The oldest tree does not stand out from other trees from the population with respect to height or trunk diameter. A comparison of the age of this tree to the oldest spruce trees in Poland indicates that it is one of the longest living specimens of this species. Considering the natural character of the stand, the remaining flora, and the peat-forming processes taking place within the mire “Pod Małym Śnieżnikiem”, we argue that the mire should become protected by the law as soon as possible in order to preserve this valuable high mountain habitat.

Data udostępnienia11 cze 2024, 11:47:06
Data mod.11 cze 2024, 11:47:06
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