The identification of disturbance events using disturbance chronologies has become a valuable tool in reconstructing disturbance history in temperate forests worldwide; yet detailed reconstructions of disturbance history and their effect on the structure and dynamics of the old-growth Nothofagus forests in the southern Patagonia are scarce. We reconstructed forest dynamics and disturbance history of an old-growth N. pumilio forest in the Toro River Valley, Santa Cruz, Argentina using dendroecological techniques. Since a variation in the disturbance regimes was expected with changing elevation, we sampled at different elevations. We found distinct differences in forest structure, dynamics, and disturbance history with changes in the elevation. The disturbance chronologies provided robust evidence that forests in the study area have been subjected to multiple disturbance events over the last 200 years. Yet, recognizing the agent of disturbance could be difficult in these montane forests and further studies are required. Moreover, disturbances might have varied from frequent, moderate- to high-severity events to less frequent and more severe events. This study represents the first of its kind for the temperate forests of Patagonia.
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