Hans Pretzsch; Andrés Bravo-Oviedo; Torben Hilmers; Ricardo Ruiz-Peinado; Lluís Coll; Magnus Löf; Shamim Ahmed; Jorge Aldea; Christian Ammer; Admir Avdagić; +36 more
Hans Pretzsch; Andrés Bravo-Oviedo; Torben Hilmers; Ricardo Ruiz-Peinado; Lluís Coll; Magnus Löf; Shamim Ahmed; Jorge Aldea; Christian Ammer; Admir Avdagić; Ignacio Barbeito; Kamil Bielak; Felipe Bravo; Gediminas Brazaitis; Jakub Cerný; Catherine Collet; Lars Drössler; Marek Fabrika; Michael Heym; Stig-Olof Holm; Gro Hylen; Aris Jansons; Viktor Kurylyak; Fabio Lombardi; Bratislav Matović; Marek Metslaid; Renzo Motta; Thomas Nord-Larsen; Arne Nothdurft; Cristóbal Ordóñez; Jan den Ouden; Maciej Pach; Marta Pardos; Quentin Ponette; Tomas Pérot; Ditlev Otto Juel Reventlow; Roman Sitko; Vit Sramek; Mathias Steckel; Miroslav Svoboda; Enno Uhl; Kris Verheyen; Sonja Vospernik; Barbara Wolff; Tzvetan Zlatanov; Miren del Río;
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Countries: Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Belgium
Project: EC | CARE4C (778322), EC | ASFORCLIC (952314), EC | BiodivScen (776617), EC | SUMFOREST (606803)
Heterogeneity of structure can increase mechanical stability, stress resistance and resilience, biodiversity and many other functions and services of forest stands. That is why many silvicultural measures aim at enhancing structural diversity. However, the effectiveness and potential of structuring may depend on the site conditions. Here, we revealed how the stand structure is determined by site quality and results from site-dependent partitioning of growth and mortality among the trees. We based our study on 90 mature, even-aged, fully stocked monocultures of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) sampled in 21 countries along a productivity gradient across Europe. A mini-simulation study further analyzed the site-dependency of the interplay between growth and mortality and the resulting stand structure. The overarching hypothesis was that the stand structure changes with site quality and results from the site-dependent asymmetry of competition and mortality. First, we show that Scots pine stands structure across Europe become more homogeneous with increasing site quality. The coefficient of variation and Gini coefficient of stem diameter and tree height continuously decreased, whereas Stand Density Index and stand basal area increased with site index. Second, we reveal a site-dependency of the growth distribution among the trees and the mortality. With increasing site index, the asymmetry of both competition and growth distribution increased and suggested, at first glance, an increase in stand heterogeneity. However, with increasing site index, mortality eliminates mainly small instead of all-sized trees, cancels the size variation and reduces the structural heterogeneity.Third, we modelled the site-dependent interplay between growth partitioning and mortality. By scenario runs for different site conditions, we can show how the site-dependent structure at the stand level emerges from the asymmetric competition and mortality at the tree level and how the interplay changes with increasing site quality across Europe. Our most interesting finding was that the growth partitioning became more asymmetric and structuring with increasing site quality, but that the mortality eliminated predominantly small trees, reduced their size variation and thus reversed the impact of site quality on the structure. Finally, the reverse effects of mode of growth partitioning and mortality on the stand structure resulted in the highest size variation on poor sites and decreased structural heterogeneity with increasing site quality. Since our results indicate where heterogeneous structures need silviculture interventions and where they emerge naturally, we conclude that these findings may improve system understanding and modelling and guide forest management aiming at structurally rich forests. This study was supported by the ERA-Net COFUND programme SUMFOREST, with the national funding organization Federal Ministry of Nutrition and Agriculture (REFORM, grant #2816ERA02S). The project has also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No952314 and under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 778322, and the 2017 - 2018 Belmont Forum and BiodivERsA joint call for research proposals, under the BiodivScen ERA-Net COFUND programme, with the national funding organization Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant #16LC1805B). The German Science Foundation funded the project “Structure and growth of mixed Scots pine/European beech stands compared with pure stands analyzed along an ecological gradient through Europe” (grant #PR 292/15-1). H.P. and E.U. were additionally supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry through the projects “Pine-spruce mixed stands in Bavaria” (grant #7831-20339-2012) and “Maintenance of the long term experimental plots in Bavaria (W07, #7831-26625-2017). M.d.R. and R.R.-P. were supported by the projects CLU-2019-01 - iuFOR Institute Unit of Excellence” of the University of Valladolid and VA183P20–SMART, funded by the Junta de Castilla and Leon (Spain) and co-financed by the European Union (ERDF “Europe drives our growth”). J.C. was supported by the National Agency of Agricultural Research (Project No. QK21020307). K.B. was supported by the Polish Government MNiSW 2018–2021 Matching Fund No. 117/H2020/2018. M.M. was supported by the Estonian Research Council grant (PRG1586) and Estonian University of Life Sciences projects number P180024MIME and P200029MIME. R.S. was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency project No. APVV- 19-0035. Peer reviewed