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Submitted by jdp on Mon, 03/22/2021 - 08:13 am

Just published in Geomorphology, with Pavel Šamonil: Biogeomorphological domination of forest landscapes: An example from the Šumava Mountains, Czech Republic.

This paper originated from a more general study of forest biogeomorphology in unmanaged forests of the Czech Republic. In higher elevations and upper slopes mainly in the Šumava National Park, we noticed an almost complete lack of stream channels and surface runoff, except on or near roads and associated drainage features (and in the valley bottoms).

Pavel Šamonil (right) and yours truly.

In attempting to explain this, which I originally thought was a distraction from the main mission, it emerged that biogeomorphic effects of Norway spruce are responsible for the lack of surface drainage, as well as other geomorphic and hydrological phenomena. One headline, beyond a very interesting regional landscape evolution story, isthat biogeomorphological feedback domination of landform and ecosystem development can last for an extended period of time (rather than a relatively limited successional phase).  Some other potential examples of the same phenomenon are cited in the literature review in the paper (attached).

Figure 13 from the paper, summarizing how biogeomorphic effects of Picea abies maintain favorable habitats for the species.

Another headline has to do with the biogeomorphic ecosystem engineering (BEE) effects of Picea abies. BEE by trees is well established, and is often advantageous to the engineer species. However, it has been difficult to show that the beneficial BEE effects are specific to the engineer species, as opposed to trees more generally. In this case, however, the BEE effects of spruce help maintain habitats that give a clear competitive advantage to Picea over other potential vegetation competitors.

Pavla Cizková (top, center) and Pavel Hubený (bottom) provided moral and logistical support, DEM data, and face paint for the research effort.


Phillips, J.D., Šamonil, P. 2021. Biogeomorphological domination of forest landscapes: An example from the Šumava Mountains, Czech Republic.  Geomorphology 383: 107698 (attached).




Sumava.pdf (4.84 MB)