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Journal Article

A silvicultural strategy for managing uneven-aged beech-dominated forests in Thuringia, Germany: a new approach to an old problem


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

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Hessenmöller, D., Bouriaud, O., Fritzlar, D., Elsenhans, A. S., & Schulze, E. D. (2018). A silvicultural strategy for managing uneven-aged beech-dominated forests in Thuringia, Germany: a new approach to an old problem. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 33(7), 668-680. doi:10.1080/02827581.2018.1453081.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-DD39-7
Maintaining a permanent forest canopy cover and eventually harvesting wood in a final harvest according to predefined dimensions is often considered as prototype for future management of deciduous forests. An uneven-aged structure is considered by the public to resemble “natural” conditions, and by forest engineers it is considered as being more resilient to disturbances. In the Hainich-Dün region of Thuringia, Germany, beech-dominated selection forests covering about 10,000 ha have been managed for almost 1000 years, initially by irregular use, but as regular selection system since about 200 years. Managing these stands remains difficult, due to the lack of yield tables and a quantification of harvest of uneven-aged stands considering differences in site conditions and handling of over-sized trees. It is the objective of the present study to develop tables of target stand volumes, increments, and harvest for different diameter ranges of uneven-aged stands according to site conditions. The present study is based on repeated grid-based inventories of about 2150 plots, which were partly re-inventoried 3 times over the past 20 years. The recommended target wood volumes vary between 296 and 388 m3 ha−1. Stand growth rates of different yield classes were estimated to range between 6.7 and 7.7 m3 ha−1 yr−1 which is 30% lower than for age class forest. Nevertheless, the economic returns are higher. Thus, selective cutting with single tree selection remains a viable silvicultural system, but it may change over time into small-scale shelter-woods for improving growth of regeneration.