1. The northeastern and southwestern ranges of Norway spruce once overlapped on the Masovian, Podlassian, and Polessian Lowlands during the middle Holocene. Populations originating from the Carpathian refugium first migrated to Volhynia and southern Polessia and then to the Masovian and Podlasian Lowlands.
2. Norway spruce populations from the east migrated to central Europe later during the middle of the Holocene and subsequently spread to the southwest. Signs of this migration are represented in the intermediate morphological and phenological traits of populations in the regions north of the Carpathians and south of the Bialowieza Primeval Forest in northeastern Poland. The spruceless belt was originally covered with forests that included Norway spruce.
3. The reduction Norway spruce presence and abundance in the lowland areas between the Carpathians and the northern contiguous portion of the species range is likely the result of human activities, mainly the deforestations beginning in the Middle Ages, the drainage of numerous wetlands, and silvicultural practices over the last two centuries.
4. The Carpathian disjunction in the geographic range of Norway spruce range is the result of the comparatively lower altitudes of that montane region. Picea abies was present in this region about 5000 years ago. Broad-leaved forests subsequently replaced Norway spruce stands and its present-day occurrences are restricted to small isolated stands on cooler, wetter sites. Logging eliminated many other remnant stands.
Adam Boratynski, Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Dendrology, Kornik.
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