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Multi-layered Scots pine forests in boreal Sweden result from mass regeneration and size stratification
- Lundqvist, Lars, Ahlström, Martin A., Petter Axelsson, E., Mörling, Tommy, Valinger, Erik
- Forest ecology and management 2019 v.441 pp. 176-181
- Pinus sylvestris, age structure, basal area, coniferous forests, saplings, stand structure, Sweden
- Understanding historic development of multi-layered Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands and how they became multi-layered is essential for assessing the feasibility of using the selection system in these stands. To address this we measured trees (dbh ≥ 4 cm) and saplings (height > 0.5 m dbh < 4 cm) and used increment cores from 244 sample trees to reconstruct stand structure development, ingrowth and basal area increment in four multi-layered Scots pine stands in Sweden. Age distributions were quite homogeneous, three of the four stands had age distributions that were dominated by one or two 20 year age classes, suggesting that the irregular diameter distributions displayed in 2013 had developed from more homogeneous distributions. Analyses of the historical ingrowth of Scots pine into the tree layer suggested that the multi-layered structure was created by mass regeneration followed by size stratification caused by differences in growth rates within even-aged cohorts of regeneration. Large reductions of the basal area in the past resulted in abundant regeneration and ingrowth of Scots pine. When the over-story increased in basal area over time, there was a growth differentiation among the saplings and small trees, gradually creating a multi-layered stand structure as some of the trees grew into the larger size classes while others remained in the smaller size classes. When the stands reached a basal area of about 13 m2 ha−1 the ingrowth of saplings past 1.3 m height essentially stopped but the size stratification among the small trees continued, further enhancing the multi-layered structure. The results indicate that to receive regeneration pulses and sustain a multi-layered structure in Scots pine forests, the basal area needs to be significantly reduced. The growth consequences of this need to be studied.