Site index is the most commonly used measure of potential site productivity, providing key information for forest management practices. It is determined using species-specific site index models that take into account climatic and edaphic factors. To reliably estimate the site index, appropriate models are necessary. In Poland, however, outdated guidelines, i.e., yield tables, are used to determine site classes, which result in the inappropriate estimation of height growth and increments of stands. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop new site index models for the main forest forming tree species in Poland, in a total of eight species. For the development of site index models, we used growth trajectories of 3052 sample trees, representing the whole range of geographic locations and site conditions. Five dynamic models were selected and parametrized to develop the site index models. The models were evaluated using quantitative measures of goodness of fit (MAE, R2, and AIC), the analysis of residuals, and the assessment of how the model reflects the biological phenomena of height growth. Results showed that depending on the species, different models have the highest predictive ability. There are significant differences in results using traditional yield tables and developed site index models. For most of the species, the largest differences characterized either the youngest or the oldest age classes. These differences can be attributed to the changes in growth conditions from the time when yield tables were developed. Growth dynamics of forest stands may also show spatial variability, thus, in future research additional site variables and, regional variability should be taken into account.
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