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The Contribution of Forest Structure to Complementarity in Mixed Stands of Norway Spruce (Picea abies L. Karst) and European Larch (Larix decidua Mill.)

Institute of Forest Growth, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), 1190 Vienna, Austria
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(7), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070410
Received: 14 May 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 July 2018 / Published: 7 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competition and Facilitation in Mixed Species Forests)
An increasing number of investigations into mixed forest stands shows clear interactions between complementarity and stand and site characteristics. One of the least-investigated mixture types are mixed stands of Norway spruce and European larch. We investigated pure and mixed stands of these species in the northern part of the eastern intermediate Alps in Austria, at altitudes between approximately 880 and 1330 m above sea level. In these stands, 12 plots sized between 0.25 ha and 1.6 ha, with varying ages and proportions of Norway spruce, were established. All trees were measured for their coordinates, diameter at breast height, tree height, crown height, and crown projection area. The trees were cored at breast height, and from about 200 felled sample trees, equations for leaf area and for the five-year volume increment were developed. Growth efficiency (volume increment of a species per its fraction of the stand area) exhibited a clear interaction with age: in young mixed stands, spruce as well as larch grew less than the reference from the pure stands, while in the older stands especially spruce grew much better in the mixed stands. When the Clark Evans index was entered into the growth efficiency equations, it could be seen that the spatial distribution of the trees (i) explained more variance than the species proportion and (ii) showed an additional influence of stand density on the complementarity of the species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Clark Evans index; leaf area efficiency; growth efficiency Clark Evans index; leaf area efficiency; growth efficiency
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Sterba, H.; Dirnberger, G.; Ritter, T. The Contribution of Forest Structure to Complementarity in Mixed Stands of Norway Spruce (Picea abies L. Karst) and European Larch (Larix decidua Mill.). Forests 2018, 9, 410.

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