At half past six the alarm got me awake. After a quick breakfast, Zofia and I went to sample Mountain pines at the first field-site., i.e. a Southeast facing slope at 1700 m elevation. The sampling itself was quite cumbersome, since Mountain pine forms relatively dense patches which were hard to access. By early afternoon we had managed to measure and harvest ten stems. First ring-counts in the field suggested the shrubs to be at least 60 to 70 years.
Morning-view from my room in Kłapa research station.
A beautiful morning in the Tatra Mountains – perfect conditions for field-work.
Left: Mountain pine stem after the sampling (diameter round-about 8 cm), age roughly estimated at 50 years by counting the rings. Right: Mountain Pine forms dense thickets which are not easily accessible.
Since by then half of the field-work was accomplished and the weather was forecasted sunny for tomorrow, we decided to leave the remaining work for the next day. Instead I used the free time to repeat a photography taken in the 1960ies which was exposed in the research station and combine this with an evening hike to a close-by mountain. It turned out that the repeat photography could not be taken in perfect match, since the spruce forest had significantly extended since the 1960ies. Nevertheless I tried to match the perspective of the two pictures, whose comparison clearly indicates an upward movement of the tree-line as well as an increasing Mountain pine abundance in the area. The subsequent hike to the Black lake (Czorny Staw) and Karb mountain pass gave me a very nice impression of the High Tatra Mountains.
Attempting repeat photography to compare the extent of the tree-line between 1960 and today. The exactly same angle was not possible to obtain since today Norway spruce covers the perspective from the 1960ies.
Evening panoramic view on the study-area from 2000 m elevation. The area above the tree-line is largely covered with Mountain pine (e.g. dark-green patches on the west-facing slope in the centre of the image and around the lakes in the valley).
In the late evening, Prof. Stanisław Kędzia – as Zofia also from PAN IGiPZ in Krakow – arrived at the station. He should accompany me to the second field-site next day, since Zofia had to return to Krakow because of pending work-duties.