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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Scenario analysis of planting density and pre-commercial thinning: will the mixed forest have a chance?

Holmstrom, Emma; Hjelm, Karin; Karlsson, Matts; Nilsson, Urban


In the establishment phase, several management alternatives could be applied that affect the species composition of the future stand. In this study, tree seedling data from experiments with planted Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst) and naturally regenerated species, mainly Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), were used for six simulated pre-commercial thinning (PCT) scenarios. The scenarios included both monocultures and mixed stand alternatives with various initial spacing of the planted Norway spruce (0, 1600 or 2800 seedlings) and selection of main stems based on relative heights. Further stand development and individual tree growth were simulated until final harvest. Potentially, based on findings of the seedling measurements, the stands could be mixed with five to six species, but the browsing pressure from ungulates reduced this possibility since the height growth for all species except Norway spruce was highly affected by browsing. The simulated mixtures had a small variation between the PCT scenarios for the maximum mean annual increment (about 10 %). Although the growth was similar for Norway spruce, the proportion of birch in the final stands differed from 3 to 21 % between treatments and none of the high-density planting treatments generated a mixed Norway spruce-birch forest at the time of final felling.


Betula; Picea abies; Tending; Mixed forest; Browsing

Published in

European Journal of Forest Research
2016, Volume: 135, number: 5, pages: 885-895
Publisher: SPRINGER