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Forskningsartikel2024Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Tree growth potential and its relationship with soil moisture conditions across a heterogeneous boreal forest landscape

Larson, Johannes; Vigren, Carl; Wallerman, Joergen; Agren, Anneli M.; Appiah Mensah, Alex; Laudon, Hjalmar


Forest growth varies across landscapes due to the intricate relationships between various environmental drivers and forest management. In this study, we analysed the variation of tree growth potential across a landscape scale and its relation to soil moisture. We hypothesised that soil moisture conditions drive landscape-level variation in site quality and that intermediate soil moisture conditions demonstrate the highest potential forest production. We used an age-independent difference model to estimate site quality in terms of maximum achievable tree height by measuring the relative change in Lorey's mean height for a five year period across 337 plots within a 68 km2 boreal landscape. We achieved wall-to-wall estimates of site quality by extrapolating the modelled relationship using repeated airborne laser scanning data collected in connection to the field surveys. We found a clear decrease in site quality under the highest soil moisture conditions. However, intermediate soil moisture conditions did not demonstrate clear site quality differences; this is most likely a result of the nature of the modelled soil moisture conditions and limitations connected to the site quality estimation. There was considerable unexplained variation in the modelled site quality both on the plot and landscape levels. We successfully demonstrated that there is a significant relationship between soil moisture conditions and site quality despite limitations associated with a short study period in a low productive region and the precision of airborne laser scanning measurements of mean height.

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Scientific Reports
2024, Volym: 14, nummer: 1, artikelnummer: 10611