, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 683-691
Date: 10 Jul 2011

Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) regeneration and growth of understory trees under single-tree selection silviculture in Finland

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Abstract

This study presents empirical data on regeneration and growth of understory trees and constructs simple models for predicting these characteristics at various stand structure and post-thinning standing volume levels. The field experiment was established on a grass/herb mineral soil site in central Finland. Regeneration and understory tree growth data were collected from 24 Norway spruce (Picea abies L.)-dominated mixed substands. Seedlings with heights from 5 to 130 cm were measured in 1996 and 2007. In addition, the annual height growth of Norway spruce seedlings was measured in 2007. The spatial pattern of the substands varied from clustered to regular with a decreasing standing volume. Stand complexity was uniform across the range of standing volume. In the 2007 survey, the amount of Norway spruce regeneration increased from approximately 400 to 5,000 seedlings ha−1 when the post-thinning standing volume level was reduced from 230 to 90 m3 ha−1, respectively. Nearly no seedlings were found when the standing volume was over 300 m3 ha−1. The annual diameter increment in Norway spruce understory (dbh < 5 cm) trees decreased, on the average, from 2.3 to 0.3 mm with an increase in the standing volume level from 90 to 340 m3 ha−1, respectively; their height growth showed also a decreasing trend when the standing volume increased. The results indicated that a post-thinning standing volume lower than 150 m3 ha−1 with a regular overstory spatial structure provides a suitable environment for regeneration and growth of Norway spruce understory trees in the studied forest type.

Communicated by C. Ammer.