Growing concern over encroaching tree line in Krkonoše Mountains

Photo: Barbora Němcová, Radio Prague International

The Krkonoše Mountains are a beloved spot in Czechia, but recently, they have become the focal point of growing concern amongst environmental scientists. Movement in the tree line boundary of the mountains is threatening the existence of other important ecosystems, as environmental scientist at Charles University, Dr. Jan Tumajer, explained to us.

Can you explain what is being observed on the tree line of the Krkonoše Mountains?

“The tree line is a very important ecological boundary that separates the forest ecosystems from non-forest ecosystems like herbs-and-shrubs-dominated ecosystems. This line is determined by low temperatures. Above the tree lines trees lose their dominance, they cannot survive and they cannot compete with the simple forms of plants like herbs or shrubs. And because the temperature is increasing, the tree line tends to respond to this situation. In the Krkonoše Mountains, because the trees were stressed by low temperatures for a long time – it is a cause limit of their distribution – the trees respond positively in their growth dynamics to the current increasing temperature trends. So the tree ring width that we are currently observing in the Krkonoše Mountains is unprecedented in the last few decades or even centuries. Basically the tree ring width really went up in the last twenty years and compared to the previous period the tree rings are very wide. This means that the rising temperatures are stimulating the growth of trees there – they grow better.

See the rest here.

Author: Amelia Mola-Schmidt