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Height growth rate of Scots pine in Central Europe increased by 29% between 1900 and 2000 due to changes in site productivity

Abstract : Increasing atmospheric nitrogen deposition and climate change are considered the main factors accelerating the long-term growth of forests. Quantification of changes in growth rate can be extremely useful in monitoring and assessing the impact of climate change on site productivity. In this study, we carried out a country-wide analysis of long-term (100 years) dynamics and changes in the height growth rate and site index (SI) of Scots pine in Poland. To ensure representativeness we used a large sample of stem analysis trees collected on 312 plots selected using stratified sampling. To control the effect of site fertility and thus avoid the over-representation of older stands on infertile sites, we measured a range of soil properties that, together with environmental indicators characterising climatic conditions and topography, were used in growth trend modelling as explanatory variables. We found that trees planted in successive years have grown faster. The SI calculated for individual trees is linearly dependent on the year of germination and with increasing age of germination, the SI has increased by 8.4 cm per year. Despite the differences in the growth dynamics of pines planted in different germination years, tree growth follows the same growth pattern. The observed continuous changes in site productivity correspond to an increase in the SI by over 29% between 1900 and 2000. A consequence of continuous changes in site conditions and height growth rate is ambiguity in derived SI values. Under changing site conditions, SI values calculated based on stand height and age depend not only on site productivity but also the year of germination. As a consequence, stands growing under identical site conditions show different SIs, which should be acknowledged if the SI is to be used in forest management. Therefore, determining the SI of newly established stands based on the SI of older generations requires the application of an amendment to account for stand age. Continuously improving our understanding of potential climate change impacts on forest ecosystems is essential and provide information to support forest managers seeking to develop effective adaptation measures and determine sustainable forestry production. As such, our results provide valuable support when making long-term decisions and developing effective adaptation strategies in forest management.
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Contributor : Patrick Vallet <>
Submitted on : Monday, March 22, 2021 - 11:13:32 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 21, 2021 - 3:41:52 AM


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Jarosław Socha, Svein Solberg, Luiza Tymińska-Czabańska, Piotr Tompalski, Patrick Vallet. Height growth rate of Scots pine in Central Europe increased by 29% between 1900 and 2000 due to changes in site productivity. Forest Ecology and Management, 2021, 490, pp.119102. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119102⟩. ⟨hal-03176215⟩



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