General Site Description:
The Kedoshim-forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) is an experimental set up established in 2008 in a mature Pinus halepensis forest. This long-term research was designed to address silvicultural issues related to the management of mature, first generation, man-made, pine forest ecosystems in Israel and the design of their next generations as sustainable multiple-use forests. The Kedoshim LTER site is part of the Israeli LTER network – MAARAG. The Kedoshim LTER site provides a comprehensive well designed experimental infrastructure to study long-term effects of silvicultural manipulation (specifically overstory thinning) on vegetation dynamics, forest structure and ecosystem function. Four overstory thinning treatments were applied within 70×70 research plots: 1) clear cut, 2) heavy thinning – 100 tree ha-1 (65% reduction in stem basal area), 3) moderate thinning – 300 tree ha-1 (35% reduction in stem basal area) and, 4) control with no thinning – ca. 500 tree ha-1. Additionally, adjacent non-forested area was assigned as a reference. Climate and microclimate and various aspects of vegetation dynamics, forest function and biodiversity are monitored continuously since the application of thinning treatments.
Purpose of Site:
To study the structure and function of man-made forest. The research activity was designed to contribute to the following management goals: 1) conservation and enhancement of the health, vitality and longevity of the current forest generation, 2) establishment of the next forest generation based on natural regeneration processes and, 3) enhancement of forest biodiversity Ecosystem function and resilience. The specific study aims defined according to the above mentioned management goals are to study the long-term effects of overstory and understory silvicutural manipulations on tree health, vitality and longevity, natural regeneration, biodiversity and ecosystem function.
History of Site:
The forest was planted in 1969 as part of extensive afforestation efforts carried by the Israel forest service – KKL. Planting density was 3000 tree ha-1. The forest received two thinning treatments prior to the establishment of the experiment at the age of 10y and at the age of 20y with residual tree density of ca. 600 tree ha-1. In 2007 an area of ca. 30 ha was selected for the study. Vegetation surveys were conducted prior to the establishment of the experiment during 2007 and 2008. Thinning treatments which established the experimental setup were carried out during the summer of 2009.