Managed broadleaf deciduous forests are an important type of forest vegetation in Central Europe, also in the Western Carpathians. These forests are both economically and environmentally valuable. However, little is known about ecological species groups and the inter-specific associations of dominant species in temperate deciduous managed forests in Central Europe. Since the forest stands are in a managed landscape, they are not consistent with the traditionally recognized and used vegetation associations in the Western Carpathians. For these reasons our research contributes to understanding the consequences of broadleaf deciduous forest management. The aim of this research was the determination of ecological species groups and an investigation into the main environmental drivers, in order to explain the distribution of ecological species groups. The numerical TWINSPAN classification was selected to distribute 146 relevés to the five ecological species groups. Of these, 77 relevés were divided into two groups with Fagus sylvatica
while 63 relevés were Quercus petraea
dominant. Carpinus betulus, Tilia cordata
and Fraxinus excelsior
were dominant in 19 relevés. Constrained Analysis of Principal Components was used to explain the vegetation–environment relationship on three transects in the Male Karpaty Mountains. Altitude, pH, Ca, C, K and Mg were selected as the significant environmental drivers responsible for a large part of the species group variability (31.8%). The main requirement for sustainable forest management is knowledge of the vegetation–environment relationship and this research was focused on gaining such understanding. This knowledge can be used as a decision support tool for sustainable management in managed deciduous forests.
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