"Mankind as the most developed community of organisms has moral and ethical obligation to leave at least a minimum space for the biota and its existence also in future, and to prevent further damage of other species. A different attitude is egoistic and immoral from the life point of view."
Alois Zlatník (1975)
What is old growth?
A forest stand usually at least 180-220 years old with moderate to high canopy closure; a multilayered, multispecies canopy dominated by large overstory trees; high incidence of large trees, some with broken tops and other indications of old and decaying wood (decadence); numerous large snags; and heavy accumulations of wood, including large logs on the ground. Any evidences of man's activities may be present, but do not significantly alter the other characteristics and would be a subordinate factor in a description of such a stand (USDA, 1998).
A lot of useful information related to old-growth forests in Czech Republic can be found on portal PRALESY.CZ, which under management of The Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening, Department of Forest Ecology.
Transect marking, NNR Zofinsky prales ("prales" means old-growth forest in czech language)
Equipment for the measurement of increment
Electronic device for the measurement of increment; pavilion Gondwanaland, ZOO Leipzig 2012
Based on available data this individual of European yew (Taxus baccata) is aproximately 2000 years old. Such age makes it one of the oldest tree in the world. The oldest tree at all is located in Sweden. See also Monumental trees pages.
Itamos Tree - European yew (Taxus baccata), aged about 2000 years
Author: Doc. RNDr. STANISLAV VACEK, DrSc., Forestry and Game Management Research Institute, Research Station Opočno, Na Olivě 550, 517 73 Opočno, Czech Republic
Search for ecological criteria for decisions on forests to be left to spontaneous development in specially protected areas is based on the knowledge of regularities of autochthonous or natural forests. They are mainly relative constancy of the species composition of communities, relative all-agedness, relative equability of growing stock and relatively small areas of the particular developmental phases and stages. They will lead to the maintenance of ecological autonomy and equability of natural forest; their basic condition is to determine a minimum range (area) of forest stand when the populations are still maintained by autoregulation. The output of this study is applicable methodology and tests of its applicability in 36 localities in spruce woods, beech woods, mi- xed stands, scree forests, oak woods, floodplain forests and pine woods [in Šumava National Park (ŠNP), Krkonoše National Park (KNP), Protected Landscape Area (PLA) Broumovsko, PLA Český kras, PLA Jizerské hory Mts., in nature reserves at the foothills of the Orlické hory Mts. and in Polabí Lowland]. The objective was to define minimum ranges for natural environmental conditions and for two situations under the existing air pollution environmental conditions.