Restoration of wind damaged forests
in the Hășmaș Mountains
We are planting European beech (Fagus sylvatica), Silver fir (Abies alba) (species that develop pivoting roots) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) mixed forests in Cheile Bicazului-Hasmaș National Park on wind-damaged surfaces in order to increase the resistance of the newly formed forests to the effects of global climate change.
The Lonely Rock in the Hasmas Mountains
At the beginning of years 2019 and 2020, there was massive wind damages in forests of significant areas in the Carpathians, in the Hășmaș Mountains, among others.
Windthrows are the result of extreme weather events (high intensity winds) that cause physical damage to the affected trees by uprooting or breaking tree trunks.
Wind damaged forest stands in the Hasmas Mountains
Such extreme weather events (high winds, heavy snow, extreme drought, extreme heat waves, etc.) are expected to become more frequent as a result of global climate changes.
The windthrows more severely affected the spruce forests (Picea abies) that dominate the high regions of the Carpathian Mountains. The natural habitat of the spruce is between 600-800 m and 1800-2000 meters. For economic reasons, spruce stands have been planted in significant areas, even outside their natural habitat.
Wind damaged spruce (Picea abies) forest stands in the Hasmas Mountains
Simultaneously, it is anticipated that exclusively spruce forests will experience the most pronounced impact from climate change in the future. They possess limited resilience to withstand stress caused by factors like drought, extreme weather events such as high-intensity winds, and biotic threats that may thrive in the changing climate (e.g., the spruce bark beetle - Ips typographus). While forests will eventually adapt to these new conditions, the transition to more drought-resistant and heat-tolerant tree species is expected to be a slow process.
Maternal galleries of spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) under the bark of a Norway spruce (Picea abies)
The windthrows offer the possibility to introduce slight changes in the composition of the species - mimicking the process of altitudinal migration, where species move to higher or lower elevations in response to changing climate conditions. This will result in an increase in the resistance of forests to changes in climate conditions.
In November 2020 we started planting trees in the integrally protected zone of the Cheile Bicazului-Hasmas National Park.
We are planting all the Transylmagica seedlings inside the protected areas, creating forests that will provide habitat for the fauna of the last truly wild forests of Europe.