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Patterns of tree growth in a single tree selection silver fir-European beech forest

Klopcic, Matija, Boncina, Andrej
Journal of forest research 2010 v.15 no.1 pp. 21-30
Abies alba, Fagus sylvatica subsp. sylvatica, Nothofagus menziesii, basal area, forest stands, forests, saplings, silver, stand structure, tree and stand measurements, tree growth
The basal area and height growth of trees and saplings in silver fir-European beech single stem selection forest were studied with regard to their social status and crown parameters of size, coverage, shading and vitality. On 24 permanent research plots (20 m × 20 m each) all trees [diameter at breast height (dbh) ≥10 cm] and saplings (≥1.3 m tall and dbh <10 cm) were surveyed. Repeated measurements of dbh (N = 1,608) and height (N = 1,135) 10 years apart enabled the calculation of annual basal area increment (BAI) of trees and saplings, and annual height (HI) increment of saplings. To obtain the growth characteristics for individual trees and saplings, their social status and crown parameters were assessed by rank. In the multivariate general linear model for BAI, social status, crown size and crown coverage of individuals as the predictors, and dbh² as the covariate, explained 70% of total variability. Similarly, social status, crown size, crown coverage and crown shading had a significant impact on the HI of saplings, explaining 70% of total variability. Among the observed variables, social status determined according to the individual's position in vertical stand structure was, in addition to dbh, the most important predictor for both BAI and HI. Significant differences were observed between the BAI and HI models for the main tree species (European beech and silver fir), indicating their different growth characteristics. The applied method could be used as a supplement to the more widely used approaches for studying basal area and height growth of individual trees in selection forest stands.