Tree- and Stand-Level Thinning Effects on Growth of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) on a Northeast- and a Southwest-Facing Slope in Southwest Germany

Abstract

Anticipated changes in climate and research findings on the drought sensitivity of beech have triggered controversial discussions about the future of European beech. We investigated the growth response of beech on the treeand stand-level in mature stands to three different thinning intensities (no thinning, strong thinning, very strong thinning) on a northeastand southwest-facing slope in Southwest Germany. Linear mixed-effects models were formulated to describe effects on growth parameters on the treeand stand-level (diameter, height, basal area, volume). At the stand-level, the stand basal area increment and stand volume increment were lower on the thinned plots. At the tree-level, the basal area increment significantly increased with increasing thinning intensity. The growth of individual trees was also influenced by initial tree size, the size-related rank of the tree within a stand, and by the aspect of the site. Our data indicate that growth of European beech is impaired on the southwest-facing slope with a warmer and drier climate and that a very strong thinning regime applied at advanced age can accelerate growth of European beech trees even on the warmer and drier site. Our findings, therefore, imply that in a warmer climate intensive thinning may also represent an important adaptive forest management measure in European beech stands. OPEN ACCESS Forests 2015, 6 3257

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@inproceedings{Diaconu2015TreeAS, title={Tree- and Stand-Level Thinning Effects on Growth of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) on a Northeast- and a Southwest-Facing Slope in Southwest Germany}, author={Daniela Diaconu and Hans-Peter Kahle and Heinrich Spiecker and Eric J. Jokela}, year={2015} }