Significance of refuge sites

We study the significance of refuge sites in old forests of different historical ages. In the continuously changing cultural landscape with its extensive and uniform habitats, systems with structures that have persisted for centuries, are of major importance for the (re-) colonization of newly created or regenerated habitat. If Central Europe had remained unchanged by man-kind, it would have been extensively covered by closed forest systems. Therefore, tree and shrub dominated systems play an exceptional role as sources of colonization. It is tested what type of indicators are needed to identify these systems and to recognize and enhance their biotic potential. For that purpose, it is necessary to identify the processes which are charac-teristic of a community as well as to describe their spatial and temporal dynamics. This work can often be assisted by the use of models. In this context we are also interested in historical landscape analysis (e.g. interpretation of maps, analysis of documents) and whether it can help to identify "permanent features in a changing environment".



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