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Research article2009Peer reviewedOpen access

Tree mortality in a mixed deciduous forest in Northwestern Russia over 22 years

Drobyshev, Igor; Dobrovolsky, Alexander; Neshataev, Vasiliy


We studied mortality rates of birch, small-leaved linden, pedunculate oak, Norway maple, black alder, common ash and Norway spruce, assessed through two inventories of 12 664 trees in the unmanaged mixed deciduous forests of Oranienbaum Park, northwestern Russia, in 1981 and 2003.Our objectives were to evaluate if (a) long-term mortality rates vary among species, and if (b) crown condition, age and tree size affect the probability of mortality.Over this period, tree mortality rates in the park varied annually from 1 to 3% for healthy and moderately healthy trees, and from 3.9 to 9.3% for declining trees. The lowest mortality rates were observed for small-leaved linden and oak (0.8 and 1.0%, respectively), and the highest rate for birch (2.7%). We found (1) a significant and consistent association between tree condition and the probability of mortality, and (2) significantly higher mortality rates in smaller trees of ash, maple and oak.The effect of species-specific biology on mortality rates in the Oranienbaum Park was largely overridden by the "health status" and environmental conditions of the trees (e.g. degree of crown shading). The observed rates were similar to the estimates from natural temperate deciduous forests in both Europe and North America, indicating similar intensity of mortality in these ecosystems under natural conditions.


European hardwoods; conservation; forest decline; crown condition; forest inventory

Published in

Annals of Forest Science
2009, Volume: 66, number: 4

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Landscape Architecture
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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