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Query: "author" (Aleksander Marinšek) .

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More losses than gains? : Distribution models predict species-specific shifts in climatic suitability for European beech forest herbs under climate change
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Introduction: Herbaceous plant species constitute an essential element of the flora of European beech (Fagus sylvatica) forests. There is increasing evidence that rapidly changing climate is likely to modify the spatial distribution of plant species. However, we lack understanding of the impact that climate change might have on beech forest herbs across the European continent. We investigated the possible effects of predicted increasing rates of global warming and altered precipitation regimes on 71 forest herbs closely associated with beech forests, but with varying biogeographic and climatic niche attributes. Methods: By using a total of 394,502 occurrence records and an ensemble of species distribution models (SDMs), we quantified the potential current distribution and future (2061-2080) range shifts in climatic suitability (expressed as occurrence probability, OP) according to two climate change scenarios (moderate SSP2-4.5 and severe SSP5-8.5). Results: Overall, precipitation of the warmest quarter and temperature seasonality were the most influential predictors in shaping current distribution patterns. For SSP5-8.5 scenario, all studied species experienced significant reductions (52.9% on average) in the total size of highly suitable areas (OP >0.75). However, the magnitude and directions of changes in the climatic suitability were highly species-specific; few species might even increase OP in the future, particularly in case of SSP2-4.5 scenario. The SDMs revealed the most substantial decline of climatic suitability at the trailing edges in southern Europe. We found that climatic suitability is predicted to show unidirectional northward shift and to move toward higher elevations. The gain/loss ratio was generally higher for narrow-ranged species compared to widespread taxa. Discussion: Our findings are contextualized with regards to potential confounding factors (dispersal limitation, microclimatic buffering) that may mitigate or accelerate climate change impacts. Given the low long-distance migration ability, many beech forest herbs are unlikely to track the velocity with which macroclimatic isotherms are moving toward higher latitudes, making this species group particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Keywords: species distribution modelling, global warming, range shift, climatic niche, biogeography, Europe
Published in DiRROS: 29.11.2023; Views: 13; Downloads: 6
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Causes and consequences of large-scale windthrow on the development of fir-beech forests in the Dinaric mountains
Matjaž Čater, Ajša Alagić, Mitja Ferlan, Jernej Jevšenak, Aleksander Marinšek, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: We investigated several aspects of windthrow that are relevant to our understanding and management of forest ecosystems. As an example, we used an extreme event in December 2017, when the strongest storm in recent history occurred in the Slovenian Dinaric High Karst. We examined influential factors such as soil properties, wind speed, precipitation and ecological consequences for the affected forests. Soil properties were measured around standing and fallen silver fir trees at all three research sites. Tree species composition in the regeneration was observed on plots with chemical and acoustic ungulate deterrents and on control plots without deterrents. Economic estimates of yield loss due to damage were calculated at the national level. A model of the potential threat from windthrow was also developed based on data collected from windthrow events and meteorological data over the past 20 years. Our results indicate that soil depth and mineral fraction depth were similar at sites with and without damaged trees and were not the determining factors for tree toppling. Plots with acoustic deterrents showed the most effective regeneration development, the least decline in silver fir and the greatest increase in noble hardwood seedlings, while plots with chemical deterrents showed the least browsing damage. The estimated economic loss of €16.1 million is 6.6% less than the harvest under normal conditions. The economic loss was relatively low due to the nature of the storm, with the predominant type of damage being uprooted trees with no damaged trunks. The windthrow hazard model revealed that a large number of consecutive events with strong winds in each section weakened the stand, which was subsequently knocked down during the next extreme wind and rainfall event.
Keywords: natural forest regeneration, windthrow, economic loss, browsing, ungulate deterrents, forest soil properties, potential threat model
Published in DiRROS: 27.06.2023; Views: 711; Downloads: 370
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The effects of large-scale forest disturbances on hydrology : an overview with special emphasis on karst aquifer systems
Urša Vilhar, Janez Kermavnar, Erika Kozamernik, Metka Petrič, Nataša Ravbar, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Large-scale forest disturbances (LSFD) are an essential component of forest ecosystem dynamics. The effects of rapid loss of forest cover and other changes in forest ecosystems are inextricably linked to hydrologic processes such as evapotranspiration, soil and recharge processes. Among all hydrogeological systems, karst aquifers are important because of their exceptionally rich and unique biodiversity, biomass, and groundwater resources. At the same time, they are characterized by specific hydrological processes that make them highly vulnerable to environmental changes. Therefore, this study paid special attention to the effects of LSFD on karst hydrology. Using the PRISMA checklist, a thorough literature review of studies published between 2001 and 2020 was compiled into a comprehensive matrix dataset. In addition, an initial assessment of the global and regional distribution of forests on carbonate rocks was made based on publicly available geodatabases of forests and karst aquifers. The compiled information provides the first global overview of hydrological processes affected by LSFD, and identifies important knowledge gaps and future research challenges. The matrix dataset contained 117 full-text articles with a total of 160 case studies. Most publications were from 2011 to 2017, with more than half of the studies at the plot level and more than one-third at the catchment level. Studies on the effects of fires and pest and diseases infestations predominated. However, no articles were found on the effects of ice storms on hydrology in general or on the effects of pest and disease infestations on hydrology in karst areas. Of the 45.6 M km2 of forested land worldwide, 6.3 M km2 or 13.9% of all forests are underlain by carbonate rocks. Carbonate rocks cover about 15% of the land surface, which means that 31.3% of the world's karst aquifers are covered by forest. 29% of all case studies were conducted in karst areas, which is a high proportion compared to the proportion of forests in karst areas. However, these studies are unevenly distributed geographically. Most studies were conducted at the plot level, and only 21% of studies focused on natural LSFD, so forest management and land use change studies predominated. Although studies on the effects of LSFD on evapotranspiration processes between vegetation, air and soil are fairly well represented, infiltration and recharge processes in karst areas remain poorly understood and knowledge is lacking, particularly on groundwater flow and related hydrological processes. Regional studies and impacts on groundwater resources are also insufficient. The results indicate an urgent need for an integrated holistic interdisciplinary approach and a comprehensive understanding of the individual influencing factors, which would allow more accurate modelling of hydrological processes in forested karst aquifers.
Keywords: natural disasters, climatic changes, evapotranspiration, hydrology, karst aquifers
Published in DiRROS: 19.05.2023; Views: 178; Downloads: 112
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Contrasting responses of alien and ancient forest indicator plant species to fragmentation process in the temperate lowland forests
Mirjana Šipek, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, Nina Šajna, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Fragmentation is one of the major threats to biodiversity. In a fragmented landscape, forest specialists are losing suitable forest habitats with specific site and microclimate conditions, which results in their local extinction. Conversely, the invasion of alien species is facilitated by open forest areas and increased boundaries between forest fragments and adjacent land. We studied the effect of fragmentation in terms of fragment size impact on overall plant species richness and on selected ecologically important groups' richness, composition, and diversity. We surveyed vegetation in the interior of 47 fragments of various sizes and one unfragmented reference forest. Our results reveal that the effect of fragmentation is complex and differs for studied plant groups. Decreasing fragment size negatively affects the overall plant richness and richness of native and ancient forest indicator plants as well as their diversity, while the effect is positive for alien plants. The highest proportion of ancient forest indicator plant species and the lowest proportion of alien plants in the unfragmented forest underline the great conservation value of forest fragments. At the same time, our results reveal that large and diverse forest ecosystems are susceptible to biological invasions as well.
Keywords: forest fragment, indicator plants, invasion, diversity, habitat modification, habitat conservation
Published in DiRROS: 15.05.2023; Views: 175; Downloads: 106
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Soil organic carbon stock capacity in karst dolines under different land uses
Mateja Breg Valjavec, Andraž Čarni, Daniel Žlindra, Matija Zorn, Aleksander Marinšek, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: The soil organic carbon (SOC) was determined in soils of enclosed karst depressions (dolines) (NW Dinaric Mts.) to define their potential for organic carbon sequestration. SOC was measured in the forest, succession (scrubland), and grassland plots at the bottom of dolines at four depths (0–40 cm) and for 40 cm soil layer SOC stock was calculated. We demonstrated that the prevailing fine soil fractions, the C/N ratio and soil thickness play a positive role in the storage capacity of SOC in dolines regardless land use type. Grasslands have the lowest SOC storage capacity (106 t/ha/40 cm), while the highest SOC storage capacity is in succession plots (130 t/ha/40 cm). The last are covered by shrub communities dominated by Prunus spinosa, forming dense communities, and are typical of abandoned croplands or meadows that have been impacted by high levels of nutrients during cultivation phase. At this stage, there is no additional nutrient input in studied plots, which lowers the nutrient content and increases the C/N ratio. C/N ratio is the highest in the forest, where SOC stock capacity is 116 t/ha/40 cm. Given the trend towards the abandonment of agricultural land at Kras Plateau (SW Slovenia), we can expect more overgrowth of dolines, and thus an increase in carbon stocks and stabilization of organic carbon in forest soils. In contrary, we noticed the alarming decrease in grasslands and increase in urban land. The SOC storage in 2020 was for 12,538 t/ha/40 cm lower than in 2002. Although grasslands showed the lowest SOC storage, their contribution to total SOC storage in dolines is very important. Since there is a lack of studies on carbon stocks in doline soils, our research is of great importance and a novelty and gives an important background for further research on SOC stock in karst landscapes worldwide.
Keywords: organic carbon sequestration, karst, grassland, forests, scrubland, dolines
Published in DiRROS: 20.04.2023; Views: 232; Downloads: 157
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Are ecological niche optimum and width of forest plant species related to their functional traits?
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, Valerija Babij, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: The ecological niche is one of the central concepts in plant ecology. Understanding which biological traits influence plant niches remains limited, preventing large-scale generalizations. Using a representative pool of 94 herb-layer species frequently occurring in the Slovenian forest vegetation types and an extensive suite of 28 plant functional traits, we tested whether traits serve as predictors for the optimum and width of plant species ecological niche. Niche optimum (mean) and niche width (standard deviation) of each species were derived from community-level ecological indicator values for six environmental gradients, i.e., light, temperature, continentality, moisture, soil reaction and nutrients. We investigated relationships between niche parameters and functional traits through a random forest analysis to account for relatively high trait correlations. Our results suggest that niche optimum and width of forest plant species are related to their functional traits. The two niche parameters were best explained by similar set of traits; however, the relative importance of traits differed substantially. Traits associated with disturbances (frequency and severity), plant dispersal (seed mass, dispersal syndrome), leaf economics spectrum (specific leaf area) and life strategy (CSR scores) showed the highest overall significance in predicting niche optimum and width. Functional traits were, on average, better predictors for niche optimum (average variance explained across all six environmental factors: 20.2%) than for niche width (average variance explained: 7.7%). Intraspecific trait variability, not considered in this study, likely plays an important role in case of niche width. The analyses suggest that, while not all traits impact niche parameters to the same degree, it is crucial to consider traits representing different ecological dimensions and revealing leading patterns of trait coordination. We recommend that the relative importance of traits for species niche parameters should be tested on a larger spatial scale using broader pool of forest understory plants across Europe.
Keywords: ecological gradients, Ellenberg indicator values, Slovenian forest types, trait-environment relationship, understory plants
Published in DiRROS: 09.03.2023; Views: 289; Downloads: 149
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Podlaga za izdelavo usmeritev pri gospodarjenju z navadno smreko v Sloveniji
Luka Krajnc, Mitja Skudnik, Tom Levanič, Matjaž Čater, Aleksander Marinšek, Janez Zafran, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: V prispevku predstavimo podlago za izdelavo usmeritev pri gospodarjenju z navadno smreko v Sloveniji. Izvedli smo več ločenih analiz z istim ciljem: pripraviti strokovno utemeljene in s podatki podprte usmeritve za gospodarjenje z navadno smreko v Sloveniji v prihodnjih desetletjih. Tako smo v tem prispevku združili rezultate meritev nacionalne gozdne inventure, analizo priraščanja smreke, analize vrstne pestrosti ter pregled osnutkov načrtov za gozdnogospodarska območja. Namen tega prispevka je predstavitev rezultatov štirih ločenih sklopov analiz podatkov, ki so predstavljali osnovo za izdelavo usmeritev pri gospodarjenju z navadno smreko, objavljenih v naslednjem prispevku.
Keywords: navadna smreka, podnebne spremembe, gospodarjenje
Published in DiRROS: 20.02.2023; Views: 365; Downloads: 102
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