Var-hegy Forest Reserve Site, Sikfokut LTER - Hungary
Var-hegy Forest Reserve Site, Sikfokut LTER
Central Europe maintains a considerable diversity of dry-mesic oak forests as the main representatives of zonal forest vegetation types in Hungary, covering the major part of foothills of the middle-range mountain, Inner Western Carpathians. The 669 m high, Triassic limestone hill called ‘Vár-hegy’ belongs to the Bükk Mountains. The annual mean temperature is about 8◦C and the annual precipitation is about 650 mm. The core area of the reserve (94 ha) is covered mainly by close-to-nature. long untouched oak dominated forests stands: Pannonic woods with Quercus petraea and Carpinus betulus; Pannonian-Balkanic Turkey oak-sessile oak forests; Pannonian woods with Quercus pubescens. It has been set aside for preservation in 1991, though several previous conservation acts had already secured almost spontaneous natural development of the stands. Most of the area was cut around 1880, however, several over-mature trees were retained. The intensive use in the previous centuries and during the world wars left a sessile oak dominated, 120-130-year-old, mostly coppice forest. The abandonment and the precedent severe oak decline contributed to generate a more diverse forest composition and structure developing towards a mixed forest with pronounced ‘old-growth’ characteristics.
General Characteristics and Status