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Forskningsartikel2019Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Thinning around old oaks in spruce production forests: current practices show no positive effect on oak growth rates and need fine tuning

Drobyshev, Igor; Widerberg, Maria Koch; Andersson, Mikael; Wang, Xiaoming; Lindbladh, Matts


The expansion of spruce-dominated forestry in Southern Sweden during the twentieth century has led to a considerable amount of oak (Quercus robur L.) woodlands being converted into stands dominated by planted spruce. The thinning of spruces around oak trees is currently done in Sweden to improve local diversity of insects, oak growing conditions and eventually decrease their mortality. To evaluate the effect of these treatments, we dendrochronologically studied growth of old (100-200 years old) oaks subjected to thinning of different intensity at nine locations in southern Sweden, and compared them to oaks located in nearby pastures. The overall pattern suggests that commonly adopted thinning intensities do not significantly affect oak growth. Oak growth was positively related to oak age and negatively to the amount of dead oak crown. Analyses of correlations between oak growth and summer drought conditions, as reflected by location-specific chronologies of the Monthly Drought Code (MDC), indicated that older trees exhibited generally negative correlations, whereas the correlation remained generally positive for the younger trees, both inside and outside forest stands. We propose that removal of spruces should be primarily done around older and healthier-looking trees.


Oak dendrochronology; conservation management; forest biodiversity; drought conditions; tree vitality; thinning; mixed forests; European hardwoods

Publicerad i

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2019, Volym: 34, nummer: 2, sidor: 126-132