Our study focused on a postdisturbance area that arose after the large-scale windstorm on 19 November 2004 in Tatra National Park, northern Slovakia. The wind destroyed forest stands dominated by Norway spruce at elevations from 700 to 1400 m above sea level. The windstorm dramatically changed the forest stands in the national park, motivating our research teams to study postdisturbance tree cover dynamics. We quantified tree species composition (diversity) and carbon pool in whole-tree biomass of young forest stands after the disturbance, in 2007, 2010, and 2016. The number of tree species was significantly greater at lower (below 900 m; foothill sites) than higher elevations (above 900 m; mountain sites). The number of species increased between 2007 and 2010, and after 2010 almost stabilized. In 2007, estimates showed an average of 1.9 tons of carbon per hectare in the lower sites and only 0.4 tons in higher sites. Between 2007 and 2016, carbon stocks in whole-tree biomass grew to 11.5 t ha-1in lower sites and 5.3 t ha-1in higher ones, with an average for the entire area of about 8 t ha-1. Estimates showed that the carbon stock in whole-tree biomass before the calamity (in 1996) was 101 t ha-1. After the wind disturbance, higher biomass stock was found among conifers (especially Norway spruce) at lower elevations and among broadleaves (mostly birch) at higher elevations. We found that tree species composition after the wind disturbance was more diverse than that before forest destruction. The current tree species composition seems to be a positive consequence of disturbance, especially given the species composition's resistance to harmful agents, including wind and bark beetles.
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