Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Between pocket forest wilderness and restored rural arcadia: optimizing the use of a feral woodland enclave in urban environment.

Abstract

An eight-hectare forest reserve in the centre of the metropolitan area in SE Poland was investigated for the effects of its management in relation to its purpose-protection of old Quercus robur L. trees. This local issue corresponds to a wider debate on the role of urban forests in contemporary societies. The study embraced (1) oak stand history-stand mapping and dendrochronology, historical maps' analysis; (2) vegetation trends-undergrowth and ground layer analysis; and (3) visitors' opinions on the reserve's use-interview. The dendroecological analysis corroborates the landscape's history emerging from the 1700s-1900s maps. The reserve is a feral park established in the early 1900s on the abandoned agricultural, partly wooded landscape. Under the current regime, shade-tolerant trees continue gaining advantage over older oaks, preventing their regeneration, whilst the herb layer, due to the reserve's isolation remains poor and polluted by alien species. The non-intervention approach does not allow the reserve's objective to be met. We recommend the restoration of features of semi-open silvopastoral landscape. This would correspond with both local eco-history and the dominating preference of the interviewed visitors. Such "bio-cultural refugia" should become key knowledge centres of the natural, cultural, and economic importance of the "working rural landscape", fostering urban care for the countryside.