, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1343-1360
Date: 31 Mar 2012

Climate effects on productivity and resource-use efficiency of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) in stands with different spatial mixing patterns

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Abstract

Species mixing is widely held to stabilize productivity, increase resilience and contribute to risk minimization in forest stands in need of special as a result of longevity. However, research on the effects of mixing on productivity and resource consumption so far yielded fairly incoherent results rather than general findings. We focused on the effects of the spatial mixing pattern and the annual climate conditions on the mixing effect, which to date have seldom been considered as modifiers of mixing effects. Nine years of intensive survey of four pure stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) and two mixed plots with different mixing pattern showed: (1) mixing hardly changed annual net primary productivity at stand level when Norway spruce and European beech are cultivated group-wise but increased by 37 % on account of a higher efficiency of water and light use in individual tree-wise mixture. (2) Favourable climatic conditions increased the superiority of mixed versus pure stands productivity, while, in particular, water stress cancelled the benefit of mixing considerably. (3) An interaction between the spatial pattern and variable climatic conditions was revealed. Both improved light and water use were found in favourable years in close inter-specific intermingling. However, in unfavourable years the spatial pattern played a less pronounced role in terms of productivity.

Communicated by H. Rennenberg.