Białowieża Forest - a relic of the High Naturalness of European Forests

Bogdan Jaroszewicz , Olga Cholewińska , Jerzy M. Gutowski , Tomasz Samojlik , Marcelina Zimny , Małgorzata Latałowa


In Europe only some small isolated patches of forests with a high degree of naturalness still exist. These are forests, whose structure, composition and function has been shaped by natural dynamics without substantial anthropogenic influence over the long period. In this respect, Białowieża Forest is a unique location in Europe, with continuous forest cover for close to 12,000 years. The palynological, archaeological and historical data document only a weak anthropogenic fingerprint compared to other European lowland forests in Holocene history. Due to long-lasting protection, a large portion of the forest is still composed of stands originating from the pre-silvicultural period. Moreover, the stands of Białowieża Forest converted by silvicultural activities during the 20th century have the potential to recover owing to patches of stands with high naturalness, scattered throughout the forest. As conflict over management of the forest has recurred regularly for close to century, there is a need to summarize our knowledge on the forest history and natural assets, to help making scientifically informed decisions over its future. Expansion of a non-intervention approach to the Polish part of the forest is suggested to increase the stability of the entire ecosystem and enhance the chances for its successful adaptation to changing environmental conditions. This will increase the importance of Białowieża Forest as an open-door laboratory for biology, ecology, and forestry.
Author Bogdan Jaroszewicz
Bogdan Jaroszewicz,,
, Olga Cholewińska
Olga Cholewińska,,
, Jerzy M. Gutowski
Jerzy M. Gutowski,,
, Tomasz Samojlik
Tomasz Samojlik,,
, Marcelina Zimny (FB/DPE)
Marcelina Zimny,,
- Department of Plant Ecolog
, Małgorzata Latałowa (FB/DPE)
Małgorzata Latałowa,,
- Department of Plant Ecolog
Journal seriesForests, ISSN 1999-4907, (N/A 100 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets1.35
Article number849
Keywords in Polishprocesy ekologiczne, historia środowiska przyrodniczego, bioróżnorodność lasu, naturalny las nizinny, ochrona przyrody, dynamika lasu strefy umiarkowanej
Keywords in EnglishCentral European Lowland, ecological processes, environmental history, forest biodiversity, lowland natural forest, nature conservation, temperate forest dynamics
ASJC Classification1107 Forestry
Languageen angielski
LicenseRepository; published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Jaroszewicz_Bogdan_Bialowieza_forest_2019.pdf Jaroszewicz_Bogdan_Bialowieza_forest_2019.pdf 4,83 MB
Score (nominal)100
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 100.0, 29-01-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 0.000; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.943; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 2.116 (2) - 2018=2.453 (5)
Citation count*8 (2020-06-19)
Additional fields
LicencjaUtwór jest udostępniany na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa 4.0 Międzynarodowe (CC BY 4.0)
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