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Growth performance, windthrow, and insects: meta-analyses of parameters influencing performance of mixed-species stands in boreal and northern temperate biomes

Griess, Verena C., Knoke, Thomas
Canadian journal of forest research = 2011 v.41 no.6 pp. 1141-1159
conifers, ecosystem services, forest ecosystems, growth performance, hardwood, insects, meta-analysis, pests, plantations, silvicultural systems, stand structure, trees, windthrow
Stand structure is a key attribute of forest ecosystems. Mixed-tree plantations are widely felt to be the appropriate option for providing a broad range of goods and environmental services and to reduce susceptibility to natural hazards. However, the debate continues whether mixed plantations can achieve greater financial return than monocultures can. In this study, mixed-species stands of conifers and hardwood species were analyzed in consideration of economically relevant factors. Growth performance and resistance to hazards and pests are widely noted in the literature and are of general economic interest. Thus meta-analyses of relevant studies were conducted to test the following hypotheses: (1) mixing tree species has no significant influence on growth performance or resistance against hazards and pests and, if refuted, (2) mixing tree species causes mainly negative effects on growth performance and resistance against hazards and pests. However, a positive impact of mixing tree species was proven for resistance against windthrow and pests. The meta-analysis on growth performance just as well indicates a positive effect of mixing tree species. Overall, these positive results underscore the need for a large number of additional studies to examine different silvicultural systems to develop optimal management prescriptions to benefit from positive interactions.