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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Select or Not? Comparing the Impact of Selective and Schematic Thinning on Scots Pine Tree Growth and Stand Structure

Segtowich, Amanda Castro; Huuskonen, Saija; Fahlvik, Nils; Holmstrom, Emma

Abstract

The first commercial thinning usually entails a high cost in harvest operations and a low resulting income. From a practical forestry perspective, a schematic spatial selection might be more efficient than a selective approach. Therefore, this study aimed to compare basal area, total and standing volumes, and periodic annual increment (PAI), as well as stand structure, between different thinning designs (selective and schematic thinning) and strategies (thinning once or more than once) over a long-term monitoring period of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) plantations in Sweden. We also evaluated the relevancy of distance-dependent competition indices (CIs) in individual tree growth models by comparing growth model predictions with the use of distance-dependent and distance-independent CIs. Despite higher heterogeneity in schematically thinned stands, there were no significant differences in standing and total volumes (m(3)& BULL;ha(-1)) among treatments in the short or long term. Although the inclusion of a distance-dependent CI improved the model slightly, distance-independent models predicted diameter growth just as effectively. Schematic thinning could be a viable option for a first commercial thinning or one-time thinning if, at least, one more thinning is included in the management plan, or if the motivating interest is mainly volume.

Keywords

forest management; pine; competition indices

Published in

Forests
2023, Volume: 14, number: 6, article number: 1194
Publisher: MDPI