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Research article2014Peer reviewed

Identifying the biological effects of pre-commercial thinning on diameter growth in young Scots pine stands

Ulvcrona, Kristina; Karlsson, Kjell; Ulvcrona, Thomas


Data from seven Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands in central Sweden that had undergone pre-commercial thinning (PCT) were used to investigate the biological effect of PCT on the diameter at breast height (DBH) growth of the remaining trees. Two treatments were considered: a PCT treatment and a control (C) with no PCT. The DBH of the trees in each stand was measured on up to four occasions over 15 years. We examined mean DBH and DBH growth of the largest 300, 600, 900 and 1200 trees ha-1. Two methods of selecting the trees used to calculate the mean DBH values for each measurement occasion were considered: the actual mean DBH (Dma), which is based on the DBH distribution of the trees on the measurement occasion in question, and the genuine mean DBH (Dmg), which is based on the DBH distribution of the trees on the final measurement occasion of the study and therefore focuses on the same set of trees for all measurement occasions. There was no clear difference between the Dma- and Dmg-based DBH increments, but the Dmg values tended to be somewhat larger both for the C and PCT treatments. Over a 15-year period, the relative mean yearly increments (Dma/Dmg) for different tree size classes ranged from 0.91 to 0.98, with lower values for the C treatment and larger DBH size classes. We found that PCT promotes DBH growth: over a 15-year period, the increased growth amounted to about 2.0 mm year-1 compared to the trees in unthinned plots.


DBH increment, larger DBH stems, DBH increment, larger DBH stems pre-commercial thinning

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2014, Volume: 29, number: 5, pages: 427-435

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        Forest Science

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