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General information on the forests of Schleswig-Holstein

The studies represent the characteristics of the growth area, "Eastern Hills" beech forests. Schleswig-Holstein from across the federal states posses the least forest coverage. There are few more closed forest areas, of which the Segeberg Forest is the largest with 600 hectares. In the eastern hills, the Hüttnet Mountains are the next largest forested region. The study site is a wooded area of only 2 hectares surrounded by agricaultural land in a lake landscape. For the bulk of the forest area of Schleswig-Holstein this highly resolved situation is characteristic of the beech forests. The situation is connected with the relatively late colonization of the Cimbrian  peninsula and its deforestation as a consequent  of settlement. It was developed rather quickly with the establishment of bigger agricultural noble estates and the use of wood. Typically, permanent forest remained on rather unproductive patches,  preferably on wetlands and ridges covered by heavy soils. However, sometimes there is evidence from historical archives for permanent woodland coverage at these places since the early Middle-Ages.



The Level II plot is located in the research area of former Ecology Centre at Lake Belau close to the township of Bornhöved approximately 40km south of the city of Kiel. The region belongs to the Eastern Hill landscape of Schleswig-Holstein, a Weichselian young moraine landscape with characteristic shapes. The west edge of the manifestations of the former glacier advance shows a correspondingly pronounced dynamics of the peri-and postglazialnen thawing and refreezing phases as well as melt-water streams. Accordingly, the variety of soil parent-material and the conditions of soil formation are highly variable.



The geological formation and influence of humans created  in the study area a complex pattern of fluvioglacial, freshwater, organic deposits and related conditions of  soil formation . In the terrestrial parts of the area and the beech forest fluvioglaciale meltwater sands partly covered by glacial sands. While the soils in the studied beech forest are particularly sandy, a few meters northeast loamy soils on substrates that are under intensively used arable land. On the other hand, there are very similar soils but used as for extensive wood-land of feed production animal farms. During soil development by 13,000 years since the the Weichsalian glaciations, a profound decalcification to a depths of well over 2m of terrestrial soils and consequent conditions for the emergence of acidic soils with lower nutrient potentials occur. The subsol  horizons  downwards from 80 cm depth are formed by melt-water sands.



The beech forest of the study area consists of the only and main tree species and belongs to the Galio-Fagetum (Woodruff beech forest).  On site a herbaceous ground vegetation but no other layers exist.  In other places, the herbaceous layer is more distinguished by species belonging to the Querco Fagetea (eg, Polygonatum multiflorum, Stellaria holostea, Galium odoratum) and is often dominated by the Gräsart Milium effusum. The age structure of the beech fores is because of afforestation in 1897 following very uncertain agricultural use very uniform but otherwise drawn by self-rejuvenation. In the wider area beech forest is associated with uncharacteristic forms of mixed and deciduous forest. In  the riparian zone alder forests exists which merge into a reed belt along the lake. The agricultural and farming areas are covered by crops (Cereals, maize and forage plants, field grass) and grassland.



Text about fauna will appear soon.


Measuring and sampling devices

On site technical facilities are installed to measure values of variables, which characterize the microclimate and are used for water and element fluxe calculations. Electonic sensors measure for instance read temperatures within the beech stand and in the open field, insolated and reflected energy. Collector systems in the forest and in the open field are sampling the rain water falling in the open field, dripping thrugh the canoipy and flowing downwards along the stems. The samples are analysed for nutrients and acidifying components formed after wet and dry deposition. pH and the concentration values are used to calculate flux rates which are very informative for estimating the acififying effects of total atmospheric deposition of air pollutants and nutrient inputs of the ecosystem.