Determinants of Floodplain Forest Development Illustrated by the Example of the Floodplain Forest in the District of Leipzig

Forest Ecology and Management, 258 (5), p.887-894, Aug 2009

Haase, D. / Glaser, J.

“This paper discusses determinants of the historical and current spatial extent of the floodplain forest in Leipzig as well as its tree species composition using a GIS-data based delineation model and historical forest inventories for the floodplain forest in the district of Leipzig in Germany from the 19th to the 20th century. We found that the spatial extent of the floodplain forest remained considerably stable in spite of an overall decline in the entire floodplain area from the period where the city first experienced industrialisation in the 19th century to now. However, with river regulations and the alteration of forest management from coppice-with-standards forest to high forest in the 19th century, major changes can be found in the tree species composition of the floodplain forest. Comparing these findings with references from other European floodplain forests we discuss the impact of historical and current forest management as well as the city location’s influence on the extent and tree species composition of urban floodplain forests. For urban forest management in particular there is a great need to integrate biophysical, historical and forestry knowledge when predicting future developmental trends.”