Natural beech dynamics

Primeval forests of European beech (Fagus sylvatica) are known for their pronounced continuity and a small-scale disturbance regime, which strongly relies on the plasticity, shade tolerance and longevity of beech. Using inventory data from a permanent plot of 10 ha in the largest European primeval beech forest of Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh in western Ukraine, we analyze feedbacks between forest structure and the main demographic processes growth, mortality and establishment following two disturbance events. The results allow to characterize the contribution of demographic processes to structural continuity under a natural disturbance regime.