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Forests 2015, 6(9), 3256-3277; doi:10.3390/f6093256

Tree- and Stand-Level Thinning Effects on Growth of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) on a Northeast- and a Southwest-Facing Slope in Southwest Germany

Chair of Forest Growth, Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str.4, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric J. Jokela
Received: 7 August 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 15 September 2015 / Published: 21 September 2015
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Abstract

Anticipated changes in climate and research findings on the drought sensitivity of beech have triggered controversial discussions about the future of European beech. We investigated the growth response of beech on the tree- and stand-level in mature stands to three different thinning intensities (no thinning, strong thinning, very strong thinning) on a northeast- and southwest-facing slope in Southwest Germany. Linear mixed-effects models were formulated to describe effects on growth parameters on the tree- and stand-level (diameter, height, basal area, volume). At the stand-level, the stand basal area increment and stand volume increment were lower on the thinned plots. At the tree-level, the basal area increment significantly increased with increasing thinning intensity. The growth of individual trees was also influenced by initial tree size, the size-related rank of the tree within a stand, and by the aspect of the site. Our data indicate that growth of European beech is impaired on the southwest-facing slope with a warmer and drier climate and that a very strong thinning regime applied at advanced age can accelerate growth of European beech trees even on the warmer and drier site. Our findings, therefore, imply that in a warmer climate intensive thinning may also represent an important adaptive forest management measure in European beech stands. View Full-Text
Keywords: adaptive management; target crop-tree thinning; growth models; basal area; aspect influence adaptive management; target crop-tree thinning; growth models; basal area; aspect influence
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Diaconu, D.; Kahle, H.-P.; Spiecker, H. Tree- and Stand-Level Thinning Effects on Growth of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) on a Northeast- and a Southwest-Facing Slope in Southwest Germany. Forests 2015, 6, 3256-3277.

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