European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 327–343 | Cite as

Analyzing effects of intra- and interspecific competition on timber quality attributes of Fagus sylvatica L.—from quality assessments on standing trees to sawn boards

  • Kirsten HöwlerEmail author
  • Torsten Vor
  • Dominik Seidel
  • Peter Annighöfer
  • Christian Ammer
Original Paper


Timber quality is the main driver of timber prices and is strongly influenced by the competition a tree experiences until its day of harvest. Regulating competition is an integral part of silviculture, and therefore, deeper understanding of the competitor’s influence on timber quality is important. Since mixed forest stands and the share of broadleaved tree species have increased in the recent past because of a changed forest policy in several countries, effects of mixture types on timber quality are of increasing importance. In this study, we investigated the effects of intra- and interspecific competition on the internal timber quality of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). To analyze the effects of competition intensity and competitor species identity on the timber quality of 82 target beech trees, three different approaches were used: terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), a quality assessment on the standing tree by local district foresters, and a quality assessment of the sawn wood (boards) after harvesting. We investigated the relationship between external and internal quality features and additionally compared the different approaches to assess quality. We found that the present competitive situation was partly related to internal timber quality, with increasing competition leading to increased internal timber quality. We further observed more discoloration in timber of beech trees growing in mixture with other broadleaved tree species. We also showed that predicting discoloration is possible through the number of bark anomalies on the stem surface. Also, the external quality assessment of local foresters on standing trees predicted the internal timber features well. Finally, TLS appeared to be a valuable addition for assessing timber quality in situ.


Discoloration European beech Knottiness Mixed forest stands Terrestrial laser scanning Wood quality 



This study was funded by Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur embedded in the joint project ‘Materialforschung Holz’. Part of this work was also supported by funds of the German Government´s Special Purpose Fund held at Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (844732). The authors address special thanks to Axel Pampe, Director of the Lower Saxony Forest Office of Reinhausen and to Wolf-Georg Fehrensen, head of the Fehrensen private limited company (Hann. Münden, Germany). More precisely, we are grateful for receiving access to sites and trees, the sawing procedure and the assistance of the district foresters of the Forest Office of Reinhausen as well as the Fehrensen team during fieldwork. Special thanks go to Andreas Parth, Karl-Heinz Heine, Michael Unger, and Ulrike Westphal for supporting fieldwork, data acquisition, and for their constructive comments regarding planning and implementation of the project. Thanks are also due to Martin Lindenberg for his participation in fieldwork and data acquisition. We would like to thank the team of the Department of Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones for supporting this work with helpful comments and assistance at the Fehrensen sawmill. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewer for the helpful and constructive comments that contributed to an improvement of this article.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones, Faculty of Forest SciencesUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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