European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 283–295 | Cite as

Variability in growth of trees in uneven-aged stands displays the need for optimizing diversified harvest diameters

  • Joerg Roessiger
  • Andrej Ficko
  • Christian Clasen
  • Verena C. Griess
  • Thomas Knoke
Original Paper


This study presents economically optimal management of uneven-aged mixed mountain forests that takes into account tree growth variability. We divided 9846 silver fir (Abies alba), beech (Fagus sylvatica), and spruce (Picea abies) trees measured on 898 forest inventory plots in the Snežnik and Leskova dolina management units (4905 ha, Dinaric mountains, Slovenia) into three growth classes (slow-, medium-, and fast-growing trees) to simulate optimal forest management over a period of 100 years with respect to changing tree growth, stand density, diameter distribution, and tree species composition. We developed a density-dependent and stage and growth-structured matrix transition model which—simultaneous to the long-term stand dynamics projection—scheduled optimal harvesting to maximize the net present value using a nonlinear approach. The ecology of tree species was considered by using tree species-specific and stand-density and diameter-dependent logistic functions for ingrowth, transition, and mortality. The model projected a shift in tree species composition from fir-dominated to beech-dominated forests within 100 years. A change from harvesting slow- and fast-growing trees as if they all had medium growth to growth-sensitive harvesting increased the net revenue and maintained the uneven-aged stand structure. Optimal harvest diameters varied among growth classes, time periods, and tree species according to the economic maturity of individual trees and ranged from 12 (pre-commercial thinning) to 72 cm (target diameter). The simulation highlights the potential of improved bio-economic models for increasing yield from uneven-aged forests and scheduling optimal management regimes with multiple objectives.


Bio-economic modeling Simultaneous optimization Close-to-nature forest management Continuous-cover forestry Ecological dynamics Matrix transition model 



This study resulted from the collaboration between Technische Universität München and University of Ljubljana within the framework of the project “Uncertainty and the bioeconomics of near-natural silviculture” (KN 586/7-2) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the project “ARANGE—Advanced multifunctional forest management in European mountain ranges” (FP7-KBBE-2011-5) funded by the European Commission, FP7. J. R. thanks National Forest Center—Forest Research Institute Zvolen—for the support by Operational Programme Research and Development Fund (Project ITMS 26220120069, 3 % contribution). A. F. thanks the Pahernik Foundation for financial support. The authors thank the Slovenia Forest Service for providing valuable inventory and price data, Elizabeth Gosling and Laura Carlson for language editing of the manuscript, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.

Supplementary material

10342_2015_935_MOESM1_ESM.doc (616 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 615 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joerg Roessiger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrej Ficko
    • 2
  • Christian Clasen
    • 1
  • Verena C. Griess
    • 1
    • 4
  • Thomas Knoke
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Forest Management, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Center of Life and Food Sciences WeihenstephanTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.National Forest Center - Forest Research Institute ZvolenZvolenSlovakia
  4. 4.Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of ForestryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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