Evaluating the behaviour of vertical structure indices in Scots pine forests

Évaluer le comportement des indices de structure verticale dans les forêts de pin sylvestre

Abstract

  • • Stand structure indices would appear to be good surrogate measures for biodiversity in forest ecosystems.

  • • The vertical structure of Pinus sylvestris L. stands in Central Spain was analysed in order to evaluate their structural diversity. A comparison between two forests with similar ecological conditions but managed under different silvicultural systems was conducted in order to analyse changes in diversity at different stages of stand development. Height diversity was quantified using two non-spatially explicit indices (Shannon’s index and STVI) as well as two spatially explicit indices (Gadow’s differentiation index and the Structure complexity index). A new diversity index was then proposed, based on the sum of square roots of height differences (SQRI).

  • • Correlations between all vertical structure indices were highly significant. All indices showed that height diversity was greater in the forest with the longer regeneration period and where less intensive thinnings were applied throughout the rotation. Diversity was highest in uneven-aged stands and in the period between the regeneration stage and the first thinning. Thinning from below accounted for the decrease in vertical structure complexity throughout the rotation in even-aged stands.

  • • The results show that height distribution along with successional stage data enhance the analysis of vertical diversity since structural complexity is highly related to the silvicultural practices that are carried out at different ages.

Résumé

  • • Les indices de structure de peuplements semblent être de bonnes mesures de substitution pour l’estimation de la biodiversité dans les écosystèmes forestiers.

  • • La structure verticale des peuplements de Pinus sylvestris L. dans le centre de l’Espagne a été analysée afin d’évaluer leur diversité structurelle. Une comparaison entre deux forêts, ayant des conditions écologiques similaires mais gérées avec une sylviculture différente, a été réalisée afin d’analyser les changements dans la diversité à différents stades de développement du peuplement. La diversité de hauteur a été quantifiée au moyen de deux indices non-spatialement explicites (indice de Shannon et STVI) ainsi que de deux indices spatialement explicites (l’Indice de différenciation Gadow et l’Index de complexité de structure). Un nouvel indice de la diversité, basé sur la somme des carrés des racines des différences de hauteur (SQRI), a ensuite été proposé.

  • • Les corrélations entre les indices de structure verticale sont très significatives. Tous les indices montrent que la diversité en hauteur est plus grande dans la forêt ayant la plus longue période de régénération et là où les éclaircies les moins intensives ont été appliquées dans l’ensemble de la rotation. La diversité est la plus élevée dans les peuplements inéquiennes et dans la période entre la phase de régénération et la première éclaircie. L’éclaircie par le bas représente la diminution de complexité de la structure verticale dans l’ensemble de la rotation, dans les peuplements équiennes.

  • • Les résultats montrent que la distribution des hauteurs avec les données des stades de succession améliore l’analyse de la diversité verticale puisque la complexité structurelle est fortement liée à la sylviculture qui a été réalisée à des âges différents.

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Correspondence to Ignacio Barbeito.

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Barbeito, I., Cañellas, I. & Montes, F. Evaluating the behaviour of vertical structure indices in Scots pine forests. Ann. For. Sci. 66, 710 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1051/forest/2009056

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Keywords

  • diversity index
  • height distribution
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • stand structure

Mots-clés

  • indice de diversité
  • distribution des hauteurs
  • hétérogénéité spatiale
  • structure des peuplements