Differential survival and growth of stumps in 14 woody species after conservation thinning in mixed oak-rich temperate forests
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Many trees sprout after cutting and other disturbances, and individuals may persist for a long time. In 25 forests in Sweden subjected to thinning for biodiversity values, we tested whether survival and growth of sprouts are related to stump diameter. Stem diameters vary under conservation thinning and earlier work had indicated high survival of stumps of small diameter. We also tested whether a continuum of responses in sprouting existed among the 14 species, as predicted by earlier work. We cut on average 26 % of the basal area (mean basal area 28 m2/ha) and analysed 1,044 stumps (diameters 10–76 cm). The response of the species after 9 years ranged along a continuum from weak to strong sprouting. Survival was highest for Corylus avellena (95 % of cut individuals survived) and Tilia cordata (85 %), then decreased as follows; Crataegus spp. > Alnus glutinosa > Prunus avium > Fraxinus excelsior > Quercus robur/Q. petraea > Salix caprea > Sorbus aucuparia > Acer platanoides > Betula pendula, to Betula pubescens (8 %) and Fagus sylvatica (8 %). Within species, stump survival was unrelated to stump diameter. Mean maximal sprout height of surviving stumps varied from about 1 to 4 m among the species after 9 years. Sprout height was unrelated to stump diameter. Stump survival (%) and mean sprout height were positively correlated across species. In conclusion, stem diameter had no effect on sprouting, but the 14 species could be clearly ranked in regrowth. Our results are useful in planning thinning of mixed forests for biodiversity conservation, for biomass harvest, or combined purposes.
KeywordsSprouting Forest management Conservation Coppice Stool Succession
The Swedish Energy Agency and the University of Gothenburg provided funding. We thank the following forest owners and managers for support and help: Sven-Gunnar and Dan Ekblad; Anders Heidesjö; Göte, Gullan and Mikael Isaksson; Anette Karlsson; Bo Karlsson; Nils-Olof and Jan-Åke Lennartsson; County Administrations of Kalmar and Östergötland; municipalities of Borås, Jönköping, Oskarshamn and Växjö; dioceses of Linköping and Skara; and the companies Boxholms Skogar, Holmen Skog and Sveaskog. We thank Radim Matula, Magnus Löf, and anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript, Elin Götmark for corrections of the English, and Linn Bergström, Christina Claesson, Henning Gustavsson, Tuvis Lager, Sofia Pallander, Sanna Sundvall, Max Wikström, and Linn Zetterström for field assistence.
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