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Tatra Windsstorm Update 2010

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  • Ron
    I see we have a pictures section with photos taken right after the 2004 wind storm that knocked down 50 sq miles of mature forest, so I will add my photos to
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 6, 2010
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      I see we have a pictures section with photos taken right after the 2004 wind storm that knocked down 50 sq miles of mature forest, so I will add my photos to that folder to show a close up of how the recovery is proceeding. I have seen comments about the forest being 80 or 100 year old mono-culture, which makes me wonder if they had a clear cut forestry program back then, and if it followed or preceded independence from Hungary. I am sitting out at a shelter at the small Jamske Pleso (mountain tarn) about an hour west of Strbske Pleso, quite pleasant except for two fellows who decided the best view to enjoy and chat at is right in front of me. I finally moved back to another shelter with the sound of a babbling brook.

      My arrival was during a heavy rain and wind storm on Wednesday that brought continued cool weather to the area and snow at higher elevations. A mid day walk up to Popradske Pleso on Thursday passed over paths with melting snow. The idea of hiking up over the sedlo pod Ostrvou (saddle) and on west to Batizovsky Pleso and down to Vysny Hagy was scotched by the snows, which made the climb to the saddle, and probably the hike along the high trail, too slick and dangerous. My `equipment' is minimal, considering that I came to survive a hot summer and walking on hot or wet streets.

      One woman walking by demonstrated that we are not out of cell phone range. Then again, some might wonder at someone hauling a netbook so far to sit and type in the open.

      A lot of us on S-W are arm chair travelers to Slovakia when we aren't here, so you are who I am writing this for. The pictures posted show the slow recovery that has started. I haven't seen a comprehensive report on what the policy is in recovery, but did see enough to see that there is or was the usual controversy. Some wanting the government to do something, anything (undefined), but intervene to help nature, again in some undefined way. Mono forest culture has been brought into question, and while I have seen plenty of sign of clean up and harvest, I haven't seen any activity of replanting. Perhaps they decided to let mother nature run her course and select the mixture of trees.

      Some reports state the bared areas cover 50 square miles; what I see is varying patches of denuded hillside about as attractive as stubble on an old man's badly shaven face. There are scars and narrow strips, it looks as if nature was quite capricious in choosing where to apply her power. Many of the remaining old trees have the branches stripped off one side of the tree, as you see on the sides of avalanche chutes. From the variety of forms and broad leaves, it appears there is a good selection of growth starting out. Some of the harvesting trails running in the hills have cut so deep in the soil that some kind of erosion control will have to be implemented. The Tatras have Fireweed as we do in Alaska, but I seem to have come after the major blooming. After a forest fire in Alaska we can count on this beautiful flower coming up throughout the burned area and providing a beauty that we otherwise would not get to enjoy. It is almost looked upon like a rainbow, promising better days ahead. It is nice to know the Tatras share this beauty.

      I was looking for one path to ascent up from Stary Smokovec and was misled by a poor map, so I cut up a ski slope, confident that it must intersect the hiking trail. It did not, but it gave me good reason to continue on to greater heights, as usual expecting the trail "over the next rise". I did come across an old trail perhaps 70 cm wide, distinct but not heavily used, so I followed it, mistakenly confident it must lead to another trail. It led to a beautiful rock outcropping with a spectacular view, but dead-ended there! Happily I a hike in the woods was my reason for being there, so I was right where I wanted to be. After a lot of backtracking and more climbing I ran across the real trail. By that time of day I descended the 45 minutes to Stary Smokovec- right to a point I was at when I was looking for the right trail half a day earlier.

      Most Americans only have a quick review of the High Tatras because there is so much more in Slovakia to see, but I recommend a longer stay for any of you who have the time and means to come. After the disaster of 2004 the community adapted a plan to stabilize prices, put a hold on new construction, and actively try to attract new and more tourists. It seems they are succeeding. The advantage of the forest being knocked down is that you can now see out into the valley of the Vah and Poprad, whereas earlier your view was limited to the tall trees around you. This view comes at a terrible price, but … it is nature at her worst and her best. I think in Alaska we get to see and accept her vagaries more naturally.

      On the positive side of the losses we have improved habitat for animals. The young growth and the berry bushes getting more sunlight produce more food for animals, usually leading to a boom in population.

      There are a fair number of freshly downed trees as well, making me think that there were recent wind storms that were less publicized, perhaps even that storm I arrived in, as it rattled the flashing on the roof during the night.

      Another problem the Tatras face is the Spruce bark beetle. We have the same problem in Alaska and other parts of the US and Canada. In Alaska the climate is warming and vegetation is migrating farther north as conditions allow. Animals and bugs are following (as are fish in the ocean). The spruce bark beetle is one of the unfortunate migrants, and it causes immeasurable harm to the forests, killing vast expanses and leaving dead standing trees to feed potential forest fires. The Tatra beetle could be the same or it could be a cousin, but they are facing the same problem as well as infection of the fallen dead timber. That is one reason for clearing the forest as quickly as possible. Again, I haven't found their master plan, presuming that after 6 years they have developed one.
    • LongJohn Wayne
      What a fascinating report, Ron. Thank you! ... From: Ron Subject: [Slovak-World] Tatra Windsstorm Update 2010 To:
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 6, 2010
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        What a fascinating report, Ron.

        Thank you!

        --- On Mon, 9/6/10, Ron <amiak27@...> wrote:

        From: Ron <amiak27@...>
        Subject: [Slovak-World] Tatra Windsstorm Update 2010
        To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Monday, September 6, 2010, 3:25 AM







         









        I see we have a pictures section with photos taken right after the 2004 wind storm that knocked down 50 sq miles of mature forest, so I will add my photos to that folder to show a close up of how the recovery is proceeding. I have seen comments about the forest being 80 or 100 year old mono-culture, which makes me wonder if they had a clear cut forestry program back then, and if it followed or preceded independence from Hungary. I am sitting out at a shelter at the small Jamske Pleso (mountain tarn) about an hour west of Strbske Pleso, quite pleasant except for two fellows who decided the best view to enjoy and chat at is right in front of me. I finally moved back to another shelter with the sound of a babbling brook.



        My arrival was during a heavy rain and wind storm on Wednesday that brought continued cool weather to the area and snow at higher elevations. A mid day walk up to Popradske Pleso on Thursday passed over paths with melting snow. The idea of hiking up over the sedlo pod Ostrvou (saddle) and on west to Batizovsky Pleso and down to Vysny Hagy was scotched by the snows, which made the climb to the saddle, and probably the hike along the high trail, too slick and dangerous. My `equipment' is minimal, considering that I came to survive a hot summer and walking on hot or wet streets.



        One woman walking by demonstrated that we are not out of cell phone range. Then again, some might wonder at someone hauling a netbook so far to sit and type in the open.



        A lot of us on S-W are arm chair travelers to Slovakia when we aren't here, so you are who I am writing this for. The pictures posted show the slow recovery that has started. I haven't seen a comprehensive report on what the policy is in recovery, but did see enough to see that there is or was the usual controversy. Some wanting the government to do something, anything (undefined), but intervene to help nature, again in some undefined way. Mono forest culture has been brought into question, and while I have seen plenty of sign of clean up and harvest, I haven't seen any activity of replanting. Perhaps they decided to let mother nature run her course and select the mixture of trees.



        Some reports state the bared areas cover 50 square miles; what I see is varying patches of denuded hillside about as attractive as stubble on an old man's badly shaven face. There are scars and narrow strips, it looks as if nature was quite capricious in choosing where to apply her power. Many of the remaining old trees have the branches stripped off one side of the tree, as you see on the sides of avalanche chutes. From the variety of forms and broad leaves, it appears there is a good selection of growth starting out. Some of the harvesting trails running in the hills have cut so deep in the soil that some kind of erosion control will have to be implemented. The Tatras have Fireweed as we do in Alaska, but I seem to have come after the major blooming. After a forest fire in Alaska we can count on this beautiful flower coming up throughout the burned area and providing a beauty that we otherwise would not get to enjoy. It is almost looked upon
        like a rainbow, promising better days ahead. It is nice to know the Tatras share this beauty.



        I was looking for one path to ascent up from Stary Smokovec and was misled by a poor map, so I cut up a ski slope, confident that it must intersect the hiking trail. It did not, but it gave me good reason to continue on to greater heights, as usual expecting the trail "over the next rise". I did come across an old trail perhaps 70 cm wide, distinct but not heavily used, so I followed it, mistakenly confident it must lead to another trail. It led to a beautiful rock outcropping with a spectacular view, but dead-ended there! Happily I a hike in the woods was my reason for being there, so I was right where I wanted to be. After a lot of backtracking and more climbing I ran across the real trail. By that time of day I descended the 45 minutes to Stary Smokovec- right to a point I was at when I was looking for the right trail half a day earlier.



        Most Americans only have a quick review of the High Tatras because there is so much more in Slovakia to see, but I recommend a longer stay for any of you who have the time and means to come. After the disaster of 2004 the community adapted a plan to stabilize prices, put a hold on new construction, and actively try to attract new and more tourists. It seems they are succeeding. The advantage of the forest being knocked down is that you can now see out into the valley of the Vah and Poprad, whereas earlier your view was limited to the tall trees around you. This view comes at a terrible price, but … it is nature at her worst and her best. I think in Alaska we get to see and accept her vagaries more naturally.



        On the positive side of the losses we have improved habitat for animals. The young growth and the berry bushes getting more sunlight produce more food for animals, usually leading to a boom in population.



        There are a fair number of freshly downed trees as well, making me think that there were recent wind storms that were less publicized, perhaps even that storm I arrived in, as it rattled the flashing on the roof during the night.



        Another problem the Tatras face is the Spruce bark beetle. We have the same problem in Alaska and other parts of the US and Canada. In Alaska the climate is warming and vegetation is migrating farther north as conditions allow. Animals and bugs are following (as are fish in the ocean). The spruce bark beetle is one of the unfortunate migrants, and it causes immeasurable harm to the forests, killing vast expanses and leaving dead standing trees to feed potential forest fires. The Tatra beetle could be the same or it could be a cousin, but they are facing the same problem as well as infection of the fallen dead timber. That is one reason for clearing the forest as quickly as possible. Again, I haven't found their master plan, presuming that after 6 years they have developed one.

























        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • votrubam
        ... A good report and pics, Ron. If weather and time permits, the red-marked trail from Popradske Lake has excellent views of the Black Sea/Mediterranean
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 6, 2010
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          > I have seen comments about the forest being 80 or 100 year
          > old mono-culture, which makes me wonder if they had a clear
          > cut forestry program back then, and if it followed or
          > preceded independence from Hungary.

          A good report and pics, Ron. If weather and time permits, the red-marked trail from Popradske Lake has excellent views of the Black Sea/Mediterranean watershed (Western Spis and Liptov valleys).

          > so I cut up a ski slope, confident that it must intersect
          > the hiking trail. It did not,

          Good thinking, it used to, the southern end of the trail was rerouted some years ago, maps may not have caught up. It must be indistinct on the slope by now because of the likely periodic work on it.


          > The Tatra beetle could be the same or it could be a
          > cousin, but they are facing the same problem

          The infestation disaster started after the destruction by the gale. The forest management was ready to spray, which, they say, would have prevented it, the opposing environmentalists prevailed. Additionally, the foresters were ordered to leave the fallen trees, bark and all, where they were in some areas. A main worry now is that once the spruce trees are gone, some of the tons of the spruce-specialized beetles may evolve to be able to attack the high-elevation dwarf (Mugo) pines (kosodrevina), the shapely Arolla pines (limby), and perhaps other types of trees.


          We discussed the monocultures you mention twice in the past:

          <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/11181>

          <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/17840>

          I repost some relevant passages:

          "Some deforestation was mostly a result of commercial exploitation. The few old pictures that depict it show that in places the hillsides were covered with alternating wide stripes of trees and clearings. The percentage of the treeless strips was mostly under 50%. That image was particularly typical of the areas where we see spruce trees today. They were the best for the timber industry because of their fast growth. The spruce is the second most common tree in Slovakia today while, biologists say, it used to be no more than 5% hundreds of years ago before the timber industry changed the way Slovakia looks at higher elevations."

          "There was some more deforestation than today because of logging. It
          was managed, so in those areas people in the past would see vertical
          swaths of cleared trees with new, replanted growth, next to swaths of
          older trees, next to swaths with trees being felled. That's what
          created the monocultures of spruce trees especially in the upper Vah,
          Hron and Poprad Valleys, biologists say.

          "Liptovsky Hradok (in Liptov County, north-central Slovakia), for
          example, was an important logging center. Rafters guided the rafts
          (tied logs) down the Vah to the Danube. Later the rafts sometimes
          carried wood products including furniture."


          Martin
        • votrubam
          ... An update: a news report said that tourists (no number given) ended up too exhausted to finish the hike due to snow on the trail on Saturday, 9/4. They
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 6, 2010
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            > The idea of hiking up over the sedlo pod Ostrvou (saddle) and on west > to Batizovsky Pleso and down to Vysny Hagy

            An update: a news report said that "tourists" (no number given) ended up too exhausted to finish the hike due to snow on the trail on Saturday, 9/4. They started from Popradske Lake and called for assistance from the the stretch between Batizovske Lake and the Sliezsky Dom Hotel (i.e., past the point where you wanted to descend, Ron). Apparently, there were 1-2 feet of snow in places on the trail.


            Martin
          • LongJohn Wayne
            Martin never ceases to amaze. ... From: votrubam Subject: [Slovak-World] Re: Tatra Windsstorm Update 2010 To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
            Message 5 of 5 , Sep 7, 2010
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              Martin never ceases to amaze.

              --- On Mon, 9/6/10, votrubam <votrubam@...> wrote:

              From: votrubam <votrubam@...>
              Subject: [Slovak-World] Re: Tatra Windsstorm Update 2010
              To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Monday, September 6, 2010, 4:42 PM







               









              > I have seen comments about the forest being 80 or 100 year

              > old mono-culture, which makes me wonder if they had a clear

              > cut forestry program back then, and if it followed or

              > preceded independence from Hungary.



              A good report and pics, Ron. If weather and time permits, the red-marked trail from Popradske Lake has excellent views of the Black Sea/Mediterranean watershed (Western Spis and Liptov valleys).



              > so I cut up a ski slope, confident that it must intersect

              > the hiking trail. It did not,



              Good thinking, it used to, the southern end of the trail was rerouted some years ago, maps may not have caught up. It must be indistinct on the slope by now because of the likely periodic work on it.



              > The Tatra beetle could be the same or it could be a

              > cousin, but they are facing the same problem



              The infestation disaster started after the destruction by the gale. The forest management was ready to spray, which, they say, would have prevented it, the opposing environmentalists prevailed. Additionally, the foresters were ordered to leave the fallen trees, bark and all, where they were in some areas. A main worry now is that once the spruce trees are gone, some of the tons of the spruce-specialized beetles may evolve to be able to attack the high-elevation dwarf (Mugo) pines (kosodrevina), the shapely Arolla pines (limby), and perhaps other types of trees.



              We discussed the monocultures you mention twice in the past:



              <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/11181>



              <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/17840>



              I repost some relevant passages:



              "Some deforestation was mostly a result of commercial exploitation. The few old pictures that depict it show that in places the hillsides were covered with alternating wide stripes of trees and clearings. The percentage of the treeless strips was mostly under 50%. That image was particularly typical of the areas where we see spruce trees today. They were the best for the timber industry because of their fast growth. The spruce is the second most common tree in Slovakia today while, biologists say, it used to be no more than 5% hundreds of years ago before the timber industry changed the way Slovakia looks at higher elevations."



              "There was some more deforestation than today because of logging. It

              was managed, so in those areas people in the past would see vertical

              swaths of cleared trees with new, replanted growth, next to swaths of

              older trees, next to swaths with trees being felled. That's what

              created the monocultures of spruce trees especially in the upper Vah,

              Hron and Poprad Valleys, biologists say.



              "Liptovsky Hradok (in Liptov County, north-central Slovakia), for

              example, was an important logging center. Rafters guided the rafts

              (tied logs) down the Vah to the Danube. Later the rafts sometimes

              carried wood products including furniture."



              Martin

























              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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