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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Tree ring wood density of Scots pine and European beech lower in mixed-species stands compared with monocultures

Zeller, L.; Ammer, Ch.; Annighoefer, P.; Biber, P.; Marshall, J.; Schutze, G.; del Rio Gaztelurrutia, M.; Pretzsch, H.


Mixed species stands are on the advance in Central Europe and many recently published studies have reported that they can overyield monocultures in terms of volume growth. However, as forest research has in the past been focused on monocultures, knowledge of how mixed-species stands and monocultures compare in terms of wood quality remains limited. Based on five triplets of fully stocked monocultures and mixed stands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L), we analysed whether tree species mixing modifies wood quality and, more precisely, tree ring wood density.From a total of 322 trees we sampled increment cores for the analyses of tree ring width and tree ring wood density using a LIGNOSTATION (TM). We found that tree ring width of Scots pine was, on average, 14% wider in mixed compared with pure stands. Tree ring width of European beech did not differ between pure and mixed stands. Tree ring wood density was lower in mixed stands compared to pure stands for both Scots pine (-12%) and European beech (-8%). Tree ring wood density and tree ring width were negatively correlated in the case of Scots pine and positively correlated for European beech.When considering tree size and Stand density index, it was found that only tree ring width and mean tree ring wood density of European beech were influenced by stand density. Tree size had a significant effect only on tree ring wood density of European beech. The overall result of larger tree rings of Scots pine in mixed stands and a lower tree ring wood density of both species in mixed stands compared to pure stands was not influenced by stand density or tree size.Based on the measured values of tree ring wood density we conducted estimates of how mixed stands performed in terms of biomass. We found stem biomass to be 8% lower in mixed stands compared to pure stands. Reasons for the revealed differences in tree ring wood density and consequences for, among others, overyielding, carbon storage, and wood quality are discussed. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Tree ring wood density; Lignostation; High-frequency densitometry; Overyielding; Morphological plasticity; Wood quality; Biomass

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2017, Volume: 400, pages: 363-374

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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