Principal Investigator: Prof. dr Mirjana Sijacic-Nikolic
Pure and mixed beech stands are rather common in the Balkans. However, there is no consensus regarding the number of species belonging to the genus Fagus L. in this region, nor regarding their distribution. One group of authors acknowledges only two species, European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky), while the other group argues that these two species are rather rare within the Balkans, a region dominated by Fagus moesiaca /Domin, Maly/ Czeczott.). F.moesiaca is morphologicaly similar to both European and Oriental beech, and it may represent a subspecies resulting from an interspecific hybridisation. However, there is also an oppinion that F.moesiaca represents an independent species, which was cicrumscribed based on morphological features. Since beech forests in Serbia occupy 29,3% of the total green cover, and that it is necessary to carry out harmonisation with Europan standards which do not acknowledge F.moesiaca, which poses a problem for the traffic of the reproductive material, it is necessary to decipher the taxonomic status of F.moesiaca. This will be acomplished by engagement of experts from different scientific fields (dendrology, genetics, phytocenology, botany, pedology and seed production) and by applying a multidisciplinary approach which will encompass molecular-genetics, morphological and anatomical analyses of all three beech taxa (European beech, Oriental beech and F.moesiaca) originating from populations from the entre range distribution in Europe.