Unraveling the Importance of Inter- and Intraspecific Competition for the Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change

  • Christian AmmerEmail author
Part of the Progress in Botany book series (BOTANY, volume 78)


Climate change implies a new and challenging source of uncertainty for forestry and requires adaptation measures. In the context of silviculture two main approaches have recently been discussed: adapting target tree species composition, and adapting stand density. This review shows that creating mixed stands and controlling stand density through thinning are effective adaptation principles, which both may reduce resource competition among trees. Mixed stands composed of species with different functional traits and foraging strategies increase the likelihood of complementary effects because of reduced (intraspecific) competition pressure and/or facilitation effects. Thinning stands leads to lowered interception and increases in throughfall and soil water availability, improving tree recovery and resilience after drought events. For an adequate interpretation of tree growth responses to drought it is important to distinguish between the term sensitivity, which describes the magnitude of the individual’s response to stress, and the term vulnerability, which describes whether or not the actual stress is crucial for both long-term performance and tree or stand survival, respectively.


Tree Ring Functional Trait Stand Density Mixed Stand Intraspecific Competition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to Rainer Matyssek who initiated this work and who gave valuable comments to an earlier version of the manuscript. I also thank Peter Annighöfer for commenting on the manuscript and linguistic corrections. Finally, I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for critical remarks and helpful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones and Center for Biodiversity and Sustainable Land UseGöttingen UniversityGöttingenGermany

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