Technical University in Zvolen
Recent publications
Development of primary spruce forests is driven by a series of disturbances, which also have an important influence on the understorey vegetation and its diversity. Early post-disturbance processes have been intensively studied, however, very little is known about the long-term effects of disturbances on the understorey. We quantified disturbance history using dendrochronological methods to investigate its impact on vascular plant diversity and understorey species composition. We sampled 141 plots randomly assigned throughout primary stands located in the zone of natural montane acidophilous forests dominated by Picea abies (L.) Karst. in the Western Carpathians. Dendrochronological, dendrometric, and environmental parameters were related to understorey properties using ordination methods and a Bayesian approach using multilevel linear models (GLMM). Time since the last disturbance (23–260 years ago; mostly windstorms and bark beetle outbreaks) had a significant effect on understorey species composition of the current communities, and it also interacted with disturbance severity to influence species diversity. The effect of disturbances on the understorey was largely mediated by the alteration of stand structure (age, DBH, canopy openness), Vaccinium myrtillus L. cover, and topsoil chemical properties. A period of severe disturbances between 1860 and 1890 resulted in a legacy of our current, relatively homogeneous spruce stands with less diverse sciophilous understorey dominated by V. myrtillus, which is in contrast to heterogeneous stands (in terms of age and spatial structure) driven by small-scale, lower-severity disturbances, which led to an understorey enriched by species with higher demands on light and topsoil quality (higher K concentration and lower C/N ratio). All developmental pathways following disturbances create a unique complex of spatiotemporal understorey variability in the montane spruce forests. Therefore, to preserve their full diversity, disturbances of all severities and sizes should be accepted as natural drivers, both in the field of nature conservation and close-to-nature forestry efforts.
Lean management is an approach to continuous process optimisation. The methodology involves the entire value chain. The individual links are made more efficient and thus leaner. The main goal of lean management is to use various lean methods, procedures and thinking principles to coordinate all processes and activities in such a way that any kind of waste along the value chain is avoided in a holistic production system. This would result in the following main difficulties: Transporting information quickly and purposefully to the right places in the company. This is where the lean tool of shopfloor Management (SFM) comes into its own. The shopfloor board is the communication platform of SFM. Shopfloor takes place very close to the employees in a direct interaction between employees and managers. Staff are directly involved in the process and should and can contribute their own approaches to solutions. The article provides an overview of the structure of shopfloor management (SFM) and proves that the goals set by the introduction itself – namely the optimised flow of information in the company with the involvement of all employees – are achieved through shopfloor Management. The method of a structured interview with 63 respondents is used to obtain data.
The research presented supported a comprehensive assessment of the condition of real oil samples of the HM quality class and VG 46 viscosity grade as functions of oil usage time in the hydraulic system of two round timber sorting and transport carriages (RSTW I and RSTW II ) Baljer & Zembrod intended for handling wood logs by following the degradation and concentration of abrasive metals in the oil. The oil data were collected every Δ = 500 operating hours during one year by off-line monitoring of hydraulic oil. Measured values were compared to the acceptability limits. Multivariate associations were analysed using a principal component analysis (PCA; Statistica 12.0) to describe the patterns of co-variation among the examined traits. Based on the data obtained, it was observed that the oil in RSTW I was more oxidatively stressed in contrast to the oil in RSTW II despite it being subjected to an excessive wear mode.
Forest models are instrumental for understanding and projecting the impact of climate change on forests. A considerable number of forest models have been developed in the last decades. However, few systematic and comprehensive model comparisons have been performed in Europe that combine an evaluation of modelled carbon and water fluxes and forest structure. We evaluate 13 widely‐used, state‐of‐the‐art, stand‐scale forest models against field measurements of forest structure and eddy‐covariance data of carbon and water fluxes over multiple decades across an environmental gradient at nine typical European forest stands. We test the models’ performance in three dimensions: accuracy of local predictions (agreement of modelled and observed annual data), realism of environmental responses (agreement of modelled and observed responses of daily gross primary productivity to temperature, radiation and vapor pressure deficit) and general applicability (proportion of European tree species covered). We find that multiple models are available that excel according to our three dimensions of model performance. For the accuracy of local predictions, variables related to forest structure have lower random and systematic errors than annual carbon and water flux variables. Moreover, the multi‐model ensemble mean provided overall more realistic daily productivity responses to environmental drivers across all sites than any single individual model. The general applicability of the models is high, as almost all models are currently able to cover Europe’s common tree species. We show that forest models complement each other in their response to environmental drivers and that there are several cases in which individual models outperform the model ensemble. Our framework provides a first step to capturing essential differences between forest models that go beyond the most commonly used accuracy of predictions. Overall, this study provides a point of reference for future model work aimed at predicting climate impacts and supporting climate mitigation and adaptation measures in forests.
Abstract Climate change is increasing the severity and frequency of droughts around the globe, leading to tree mortality that reduces production and provision of other ecosystem services. Recent studies show that growth of mixed stands may be more resilient to drought than pure stands. The two most economically‐important and widely‐distributed tree species in Europe are Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), but little is known about their susceptibility to drought when coexist. This paper analyses the resilience (resistance, recovery rate and recovery time) at individual‐tree level using a network of tree‐ring collections from 22 sites along a climatic gradient from central Europe to Scandinavia. We aimed to identify differences in growth following drought between the two species and between mixed and pure stands, and how environmental variables (climate, topography and site location) and tree characteristics influence them. We found that both the timing and duration of drought drive the different responses between species and compositions. Norway spruce showed higher vulnerability to summer drought, with both lower resistance and a longer recovery time than Scots pine. Mixtures provided higher drought resistance for both species compared to pure stands, but the benefit decreases with the duration of the drought. Especially climate sensitive and old trees in climatically‐marginal sites were more affected by drought stress. Synthesis: Promoting Scots pine and mixed forests are promising strategies for adapting European forests to climate change. However, if future droughts become longer, the advantage of mixed stands could disappear which would be especially negative for Norway spruce.
Silicon is absorbed as uncharged mono-silicic acid by plant roots through passive absorption of Lsi1, and influx transporter belonging to the aquaporin protein family. Lsi2 then actively effluxes silicon from root cells towards the xylem from where it is exported by Lsi6 for silicon distribution and accumulation to other parts. Recently, it was proposed that silicon nanoparticles (SiNPs) might share a similar route for their uptake and transport. SiNPs then initiate a cascade of morphophysiological adjustments that improve the plant physiology through regulating the expression of many photosynthetic genes and proteins along with photosystem I (PSI) and PSII assemblies. Subsequent improvement in photosynthetic performance and stomatal behaviour correspond to higher growth, development, and productivity. On many occasions, SiNPs have demonstrated a protective role during stressful environments by improving plant-water status, source-sink potential, reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism, and enzymatic profile. The present review comprehensively discusses the crop improvement potential of SiNPs stretching their role during optimal and abiotic stress conditions including salinity, drought, temperature, heavy metals, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Moreover, in the later section of this review, we offered the understanding that most of these upgrades can be explained by SiNPs intricate correspondence with phytohormones, antioxidants, and signalling molecules. SiNPs can modulate the endogenous phytohormones level such as abscisic acid (ABA), auxins (IAAs), cytokinins (CKs), ethylene (ET), gibberellins (GAs), and jasmonic acid (JA). Altered phytohormones level affects plant growth, development, and productivity at various organ and tissue levels. Similarly, SiNPs regulate the activities of catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and ascorbate-glutathione (AsA-GSH) cycle leading to an upgraded defence system. At the cellular and subcellular levels, SiNPs crosstalk with various signalling molecules such as Ca2+, K+, Na+, nitric oxide (NO), ROS, soluble sugars, and transcription factors (TFs) was also explained.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used as a UV light absorber to protect wood matter from photodegradation. In this paper, interactions between wood and TiO2 coating are studied, and the efficiency of the coating is evaluated. For the experiments, two wood species were chosen: beech (Fagus sylvatica) and pine (Pinus sylvestris). Molecular and physical modifications in coated and uncoated wood exposed to UV radiation were investigated with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). UV-VIS spectroscopy was used to describe the absorption of UV light by the TiO2 planar particles chosen for the experiment. It was demonstrated that TiO2 coating protects wood against photodegradation to a limited extent. TEM micrographs showed fissures in the wood matter around clusters of TiO2 particles in beech wood.
Traditionally focussed on maximising productivity, forest management increasingly has to consider other functions performed by the forest stands, such as biodiversity conservation. Terrestrial plant communities typically possess a hump-back relationship between biomass productivity and plant species richness. However, there is evidence of a reverse relationship in forests dominated by beech, one of the most competitive and widespread tree species in temperate Europe. To fully explore the tree productivity-species richness relationship, we investigated above- and below-ground drivers of understorey plant species richness. We focussed on managed beech forests growing along an elevation gradient in Central Europe. We found that the lowest understorey plant diversity was under conditions optimal for beech. Tree fine root mass, canopy openness, soil C/N ratio, the interaction between tree fine root mass and stoniness, and stand structural diversity explain the variation of understorey species richness. We show that the competition for soil resources is the main driver of plant species diversity in managed forests; maximising beech growth in optimal conditions may thus come at the expense of understorey plant richness.
The increasing disturbances in monocultures around the world are testimony to their instability under global change. Many studies have claimed that temporal stability of productivity increases with species richness, although the ecological fundaments have mainly been investigated through diversity experiments. To adequately manage forest ecosystems, it is necessary to have a comprehensive understanding of the effect of mixing species on the temporal stability of productivity and the way in which this it is influenced by climate conditions across large geographical areas. Here, we used a unique dataset of 261 stands combining pure and two‐species mixtures of four relevant tree species over a wide range of climate conditions in Europe to examine the effect of species mixing on the level and temporal stability of productivity. Structural equation modelling was employed to further explore the direct and indirect influence of climate, overyielding, species asynchrony and additive effect (i.e. temporal stability expected from the species growth in monospecific stands) on temporal stability in mixed forests. We showed that by adding only one tree species to monocultures, the level (overyielding: +6%) and stability (temporal stability: +12%) of stand growth increased significantly. We identified the key effect of temperature on destabilizing stand growth, which may be mitigated by mixing species. We further confirmed asynchrony as the main driver of temporal stability in mixed stands, through both the additive effect and species interactions, which modify between‐species asynchrony in mixtures in comparison to monocultures. Synthesis and applications. This study highlights the emergent properties associated with mixing two‐species, which result in resource efficient and temporally stable production systems. We reveal the negative impact of mean temperature on temporal stability of forest productivity and how the stabilizing effect of mixing two species can counterbalance this impact. The overyielding and temporal stability of growth addressed in this paper are essential for ecosystem services closely linked with the level and rhythm of forest growth. Our results underline that mixing two species can be a realistic and effective nature‐based climate solution, which could contribute towards meeting EU climate target policies.
Adverse health effects caused by exposure to airborne particles have been detected in recent years, however there is little knowledge about exposure to ultrafine particles with a diameter <100 nm. In this study, particle number concentration and size distribution in a range of particle diameters from 10 nm to 10 µm were determined during oak wood sanding. A hand-held orbit sander in combination with three types of grit size (P60, 120 and 240) of sandpaper were used. Measurements were obtained using a portable particle size distribution analyzer and an optical particle size spectrometer, carried out at 15-min intervals for each treatment by static sampling in the breathing zone. We also compared the optical particle size spectrometer to the aerosol monitor in order to evaluate the mass concentration of airborne particles in the range of 1 to 10 µm in diameter. Sanding paper with the finest grit, P240, showed a significantly higher number concentration of ultrafine particles, compared with P60 and P120 grits. The differences among particular grit size were statistically significant for microparticles. The size distribution of particles during sanding was not affected by grit size. For each grit size, apparent peak values of ultrafine and microparticle number concentrations were determined at approximately 15 nm, and 0.1 µm, respectively. Optical particle size spectrometer and aerosol monitor showed comparable results of mass concentration for the respirable fraction.
We describe the genesis of poliovirus (PV) and non-polio enterovirus (NPEV) surveillance program of sewage wastewaters from its inception to the present in the Slovak Republic (SR). Sampling procedures and evolution of the methodology used in the SR for the detection of PVs and NPEVs are presented chronologically. For statistical data processing, we divided our dataset into two periods, the first period from 1963 to 1998 (35 years), and the second period from 1999 to 2019 (21 years). Generalized additive models were used to assess temporal trends in the probability of occurrence of major EV serotypes during both periods. Canonical correspondence analysis on relative abundance data was used to test temporal changes in the composition of virus assemblages over the second period. The probability of occurrence of major viruses PV, coxsackieviruses (CVA, CVB), and Echoviruses (E)) significantly changed over time. We found that 1015 isolated PVs were of vaccine origin, called “Sabin-like” (isolates PV1, PV2, PV3). The composition of EV assemblages changed significantly during the second period. We conclude that during the whole period, CVB5, CVB4, and E3 were prominent NPEVS in the SR.
Fungi play a critical role in the decomposition of wood and wood-based products in use. The ability of decaying fungi to cause degradation of polysaccharides and lignin in the thermally modified Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) wood was examined with pure culture decomposition tests in laboratory conditions using the brown-rot fungus Serpula lacrymans (Schumacher ex Fries) S.F. Gray and white-rot fungus Trametes versicolor (Linnaeus ex Fries) Pilat. Spruce wood samples were primary thermally treated under atmospheric pressure at the temperatures of 100, 150, 200, 220, 240 and 260 °C during 1, 3 and 5 h, whereby larger losses in their mass, holocellulose, mannose and xylose were achieved at harder thermal regimes. Meanwhile, the holocellulose percent content reduced considerably, and the percent content of lignin increased sharply. Spruce wood thermally modified at and above 200 °C better resisted to brown-rot fungus S. lacrymans than the white-rot fungus T. versicolor. Due to the decay processes, the mass fractions of holocellulose, cellulose and hemicelluloses were lower in those spruce wood samples in which thermal degradation was more intensive, with achieving the highest mass loss values after thermal treatments, after which the decay attacks were poorer or even none with the minimal mass loss values due to action by the brown-rot fungus S. lacrymans and the white-rot fungus T. versicolor. The mannose and glucose percent content in thermally–fungally attacked spruce wood was intensive reduced, e.g., by 17% to 98% in wood after thermal treatments at temperature equal and above 200 °C.
The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is one of the most numerous and widespread ungulate species in Europe, which has complicated the assessment of its genetic diversity on a range-wide scale. In this study, we present the mitochondrial DNA control region (mtDNA CR) genetic diversity and population structure of roe deer in Europe based on the analyses of 3010 samples, which were described as European roe deer individuals. Our analyses revealed two main diversity hotspots, namely Eastern and Central Europe. We proposed that these hotspots result from the Siberian roe deer (C. pygargus) mtDNA introgression and the secondary contact of mtDNA clades, respectively. Significantly lower values of genetic diversity (nucleotide and haplotype diversity) were recorded in the peripheral areas of the species' range, including the southernmost parts of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) refugial areas. Roe deer population in Europe consists of 2-3 genetic groups according to SAMOVA, and 15-16 clusters identified by GENELAND. The main driver of roe deer population structure in the eastern parts of the continent has been introgression of mtDNA of C. pygargus. Spatial genetic analyses revealed a complex structure of roe deer on a pan-European scale, which presumably results from post-glacial recolonization of the continent from various parts of a large LGM refugial area by different roe deer mtDNA clades and haplogroups.
Alder wood (Alnus glutinosa L.) was steamed with a saturated steam-air mixture at a temperature of t = 95 °C, or saturated steam at t = 115 °C and t = 135 °C to obtain a pale brown colour, a light red-brown colour and a dark brown-grey colour. Subsequently, samples of unsteamed and steamed alder wood were irradiated with a UV lamp in a Xenotest Q-SUN Xe-3-HS after drying in order to test the colour stability of steamed alder wood. The colour change of the wood surface was evaluated by means of measured values on the coordinates of the colour space CIE L*a*b*. The results show that the surface of unsteamed alder wood as well as steamed alder wood with a steam-air mixture at t = 95 °C and saturated steam at t = 115 °C darkened and browned due to photochemical reactions caused by UV radiation. The opposite tendency was recorded at the surface of alder wood steamed with saturated steam with a temperature of t = 135 °C, where the deep dark-brown-grey colour lightened to a brown-reddish colour shade under the influence of UV radiation. The analysis of the changes in the coordinates of the colour space CIE L*a*b* shows that the greater the darkening and browning of the alder wood by steaming, the smaller the changes in the values of ΔL*, Δa*, Δb* of the steamed alder wood caused by UV radiation. The positive effect of steaming on UV resistance is evidenced by the decrease in the overall colour difference ΔE*. While the value of the total colour difference of unsteamed alder wood caused by UV radiation is ΔE* = 10.9, it decreased to ΔE* = 8.7 for alder wood steamed with steam-air mixture at t = 95 °C, which is a decrease of 20.2 %; for alder wood steamed at t = 115 °C it decreased to ΔE* = 6.5, which is a decrease of 40.3 %; and for alder wood steamed with saturated water steam with the temperature t = 135 °C it decreased to ΔE* = 5.7, which is a decrease of 47.7 %.
The monitoring of cutting force components is one of the possibilities to control machining processes from the point of view of its stability, machine tool spindle or cutting tool loading. This paper presents and compares the results of experimental longitudinal sawing of pine wood with 4 saw discs with different teeth number (16 and 24) and rake angle (10° and 20°) during up (conventional) and down (climb) cutting with different revolutions (4000 min-1, 5000 min-1, 6000 min-1) and feed speed (15 m/min, 20 m/min, 25 m/min). The signal was obtained from Quart 3-components piezoelectric dynamometer.
The main objective of this research was to develop a web-based geographic information system (GIS) based on a detailed analysis of user preferences from the perspective of forest research, management and education. An anonymous questionnaire was used to elicit user preferences for a hardware platform and evaluations of web-mapping applications, geographic data, and GIS tools. Mobile GIS was used slightly more often than desktop GIS. Web-mapping applications that provide information to the public and the present research results were rated higher than the forest management application. Orthophotos for general purposes and thematic layers such as forest stand maps, soils, protected areas, cadastre, and forest roads were preferred over highly specialized layers. Tools for data searching, map printing, measuring, and drawing on digital maps were rated higher than tools for online map editing and geographic analysis. The analysis of user preferences was used to design a new multipurpose GIS portal for the University Forest Enterprise. The GIS portal was designed with a three-tier architecture on top of the software library for managing user access, working interactively with digital maps, and managing web map applications. The web map applications focus on tools and geographic information not available elsewhere, specifically timber harvest and logistics, research plots, and hunting game management.
This article presents a proposal of thermal modification of Norway spruce and sycamore maple for special wood products, mainly for musical instruments. Selected physical and acoustical characteristics (PACHs), including the density (ρ), dynamic modulus of elasticity along the wood grain (EL), specific modulus (Esp), speed of sound along the wood grain (cL), resonant frequency (fr) and acoustic constant (A), logarithmic decrement (ϑ), loss coefficient (η), acoustic conversion efficiency (ACE), sound quality factor (Q), and the timbre of sound, were evaluated. These two wood species were chosen regarding their use in the production or repair of musical instruments. For the thermal modification, a similar process to the ThermoWood process was chosen. Thermal modification was performed at the temperatures 135 °C, 160 °C and 185 °C. The resonant dynamic method was used to obtain the PACHs. Fast Fourier transform (FFT) was used to analyze the sound produced. The changes in the observed wood properties depended on the treatment temperature. Based on our results of all properties, the different temperature modified wood could find uses in the making of musical instruments or where the specific values of these wood characteristics are required. The mild thermal modification resulted in a decrease in mass, density, and increased speed of sound and dynamic modulus of elasticity at all temperatures of modification. The thermally modified wood showed higher sound radiation and lower loss coefficients than unmodified wood. The modification also influenced the timbre of sound of both wood species.
Abstract To understand the state and trends in biodiversity beyond the scope of monitoring programs, biodiversity indicators must be comparable across inventories. Species richness (SR) is one of the most widely used biodiversity indicators. However, as SR increases with the size of the area sampled, inventories using different plot sizes are hardly comparable. This study aims at producing a methodological framework that enables SR comparisons across plot‐based inventories with differing plot sizes. We used National Forest Inventory (NFI) data from Norway, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland to build sample‐based rarefaction curves by randomly incrementally aggregating plots, representing the relationship between SR and sampled area. As aggregated plots can be far apart and subject to different environmental conditions, we estimated the amount of environmental heterogeneity (EH) introduced in the aggregation process. By correcting for this EH, we produced adjusted rarefaction curves mimicking the sampling of environmentally homogeneous forest stands, thus reducing the effect of plot size and enabling reliable SR comparisons between inventories. Models were built using the Conway–Maxell–Poisson distribution to account for the underdispersed SR data. Our method successfully corrected for the EH introduced during the aggregation process in all countries, with better performances in Norway and Switzerland. We further found that SR comparisons across countries based on the country‐specific NFI plot sizes are misleading, and that our approach offers an opportunity to harmonize pan‐European SR monitoring. Our method provides reliable and comparable SR estimates for inventories that use different plot sizes. Our approach can be applied to any plot‐based inventory and count data other than SR, thus allowing a more comprehensive assessment of biodiversity across various scales and ecosystems.
The first goal of this paper is to verify the accuracy of four calculation methods of log volume. The tool to achieve this goal is to compare the results of the calculation of the log volume with the real log volume obtained from the three-dimensional reconstruction obtained by computed tomography. The second goal of this paper is to determine the effectiveness of displaying the qualitative features of wood in three-dimensionalmodels of selected pieces of logs of oak, beech, and spruce, which were obtained using computed tomography. It is possible to state that each of the tested calculation methods of wood log volume are applicable in practice. The tested methods achieve excellent accuracy in determining the volume of spruce logs with a small variance of values, and conversely, in the case of beech wood, the testedmethods are themost inaccurate with the largest variance of values. When determining the volume of wood logs, we recommend using the calculation method STN 48 0009, because it achieves the best results. Qualitative analysis based on CT scans of internal features can be described as a completely new level of approach to the evaluation of log quality. The performed analysis showed great potential for automatic detection of internal qualitative features in the tested spruce log. In this wood, wood defects are distinguishable by computed tomography. In the case of deciduous oak and beech, the situation is more complicated. The internal structure of these trees overlaps the internal qualitative features of the wood. To accurately detect internal errors in these trees, it will be necessary to performmany comparative tests to achieve optimal results.
Colony collapse disorder has become a global problem for beekeepers, and agriculture, which depends on bee pollination. Among other factors, the impact of the parasitic mite V. destructor, which causes varroosis, increases the risk of bee colony collapse. Global climatic changes can affect honey bee colony fate on multiple levels, including the spread of its antagonist, the ectoparasite mite V. destructor. In this work, we presumed that local meteorological conditions and the choice of appropriate beekeeping management significantly influence the number of Varroa mites falling off of honey bees. Therefore, we examined using statistical analyses the relation between biotic (number of V. destructor in A. mellifera colonies, bee quine line) and abiotic factors (maximum, minimum and average daily temperature, maximum, minimum and average daily relative humidity, hive location). Ambient air temperature proved to be a significant factor in this issue. When the daily maximum temperature ranging from 25.1 – 31.7 ºC and minimum daily temperature above 5.5 ºC, there was an increase in the fall of V. destructor. The highest fall of V. destructor for the whole study period was recorded when the daily air temperature was increased between 13.9 – 28.7 ºC and the humidity was decreased between 47.2 – 22.7 % in the hives located in the open space. This study shows that mite falls are also influenced by the hives' location and the beeline's hygienic characteristics. Therefore, beekeepers should consider these factors when planning management strategies.
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718 members
Ladislav Paule
  • Department of Phytology
Jaroslav Durkovic
  • Department of Phytology
František Kačík
  • Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology
Peter Koleda
  • Department of Machine Control and Automation
Ján Pittner
  • Department of Silviculture
T.G.Masaryka 24, 960 01, Zvolen, Slovakia