Skip to main content
SLU:s publikationsdatabas (SLUpub)

Forskningsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Taller and slenderer trees in Swedish forests according to data from the National Forest Inventory

Mensah, Alex Appiah; Petersson, Hans; Dahlgren, Jonas; Elfving, Bjorn


Changes over time in annual basal area growth and mean height for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) over the period, 1983-2020 were studied using sample tree data from temporary plots recorded in the Swedish National Forest Inventory. The annual basal area growth was derived from the last measured full ring on increment cores. Using 20 to 60-year-old dominant trees, the mean height and annual basal area growth were examined as functions of tree, stand and site conditions, and trends were assessed mainly using residual analyses over time. A significant increase in mean height at a given age was found for both species, but the annual basal area growth level remained stable over the 38-year period. Currently, at a given age of 50 annual rings at breast height, the mean heights of pines and spruces increased on average by 10.1% (i.e. similar to 2 m), compared to 50 year-old pines and spruces in the 1980s, and the increase was similar in the different regions. The results suggest that trees have become taller and slenderer in Swedish forests. Increasing tree height over time at a given age in Northern Europe has been documented in several reports and many causes have been suggested, such as changed forest management, increasing temperatures and nitrogen deposition. We suggest that elevated CO2 in the air and improved water-use efficiency for the trees might also be strong drivers.


Scots pine; Norway spruce; Growth trend; National forest inventory; Climate change; Boreal forest

Publicerad i

Forest Ecology and Management
2023, Volym: 527, artikelnummer: 120605
Utgivare: ELSEVIER