baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2019copyright christoph hase

Stužica National Nature Reserve, Slovakia


The Stužica National Nature Reserve is a part of Poloniny National Park and from 2007 a part of Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians World Heritage Area. It covers 7.6 km2, consists of one whole west-east orientated mountain valley and is located in the easternmost corner of Slovakia.


Most of the forest is genuine primeval forest1, but in the vicinity of Stužica Rieka (creek) there are a few overgrown meadows and a long ago abandoned road. Nor is the easternmost part of the reserve primeval2. Due to the presence of predators, particularly wolf, herbivore populations are much lower than in Western Europe 1, and this can be seen from a plentiful regeneration of Opens internal link in current windowAbies alba (European silver fir) and a denser undergrowth (particularly Rubus on the south-facing slope).


Tree identification is very easy. The main tree species are Opens internal link in current windowFagus sylvatica (European beech), Opens internal link in current windowAcer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple) and A. alba. Fagus is dominant everywhere. With increasing altitude, the proportion of A. pseudoplatanus increases but the proportion of A. alba decreases. On the north-facing slope the undergrowth is very sparse but on the opposite slope more abundant. The tree-line is at 1150-1200 m and the highest point is at Kremenec: 1221 m. The lowest elevation is about 650 m. The annual precipitation is 850–1000 mm and the average annual temperature 5–6°C 1. Soils are fertile1.


A marked trail runs through the reserve and follows its northern and western boundaries. On the way to the reserve, one can see that the forests of the national park outside the reserve are still being logged. Camping is not allowed.




1       Korpel’, Š. (1995): Die Urwälder der Westkarpaten. Gustav Fischer Verlag.



Official site:


Video clip:


Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest on south-facing slope. Also Abies alba (European silver fir) saplings.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest on north-facing slope.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest on north-facing slope. Elev. 800 m.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) - Abies alba (European silver fir) forest. Stužica Rieka behind the trees in the foreground.
Dry Stužica Rieka (creek). Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest. Also Abies alba (European silver fir) saplings.
Stužica Rieka (creek). Fagus sylvatica (European beech) and Abies alba (European silver fir).
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) at 740 m. Diameter 118 cm.
Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple) at 850 m. Diameter 105 cm.
Dead Abies alba (European silver fir). Diameter 160 cm.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) canopy on north-facing slope at 800 m.
South-facing slope through a canopy gap. Foreground: Fagus sylvatica (European beech).
Tree fall gap in Fagus sylvatica (European beech) canopy. Elev. 820 m.
Meadow at 1200 m. Flowering Sorbus aucuparia (European rowan), right centre.
Sulphur polypore (Laetiporus sulphureus) and moss on large Fagus sylvatica (European beech) trunk.
Red-Belt Conk (Fomitopsis pinicola) on dead tree.