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Journal Article

Romanian legal management rules limit wood production in Norway spruce and beech forests


Schulze,  Ernst Detlef
Emeritus Group, Prof. E.-D. Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Bouriaud, O., Marin, G., Bouriaud, L., Hessenmöller, D., & Schulze, E. D. (2016). Romanian legal management rules limit wood production in Norway spruce and beech forests. Forest Ecosystems, 3: 20. doi:10.1186/s40663-016-0079-2.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-012E-8
Background The quantitative impact of forest management on forests’ wood resource was evaluated for Picea and Fagus mixed forests. The effects on the productivity of tendering operations, thinnings and rotation length have seldom been directly quantified on landscape scale. Methods Two sites of similar fertility but subject to contrasted forest management were studied with detailed inventories: one in Germany, the other in Romania, and compared with the respective national forest inventories. In Romania, regulations impose very long rotations, low thinnings and a period of no-cut before harvest. In contrast, tending and thinnings are frequent and intense in Germany. Harvests start much earlier and must avoid clear cutting but maintain a permanent forest cover with natural regeneration. While Germany has an average annual wood increment representative for Central Europe, Romania represents the average for Eastern Europe. Results The lack of tending and thinning in the Romanian site resulted in twice as many trees per hectare as in the German site for the same age. The productivity in Romanian production forests was 20 % lower than in Germany despite a similar fertility. The results were supported by the data from the national forest inventory of each country, which confirmed that the same differential exists at country scale. Furthermore, provided the difference in rotation length, two crops are harvested in Germany when only one is harvested in Romania. The losses of production due to a lower level of management in Romania where estimated to reach 12.8 million m3.y-1 in regular mountain production forests, and to 15 million m3.y-1 if managed protection forest is included. Conclusions The productivity of Picea and Fagus mountain forests in Romania is severely depressed by the lack of tending and thinning, by overly long rotations and the existence of a 25-years no-cut period prior to harvest. The average standing volume in Germany was 50 % lower than in Romania, but the higher harvesting rate resulted in more than doubling wood production. Considering the mitigation effects of climate change by forests, it emerges that the increase in standing volume of forests in Romania is smaller than the additional harvest in Germany which serves fossil fuel substitution.