Spatial pattern of trees influences species productivity in a mature oak–pine mixed forest

Ngo Bieng, Marie Ange; Perot, Thomas; de Coligny, François; Goreaud, François
November 2013
European Journal of Forest Research;Nov2013, Vol. 132 Issue 5/6, p841
Academic Journal
Spatial pattern has a key role in the interactions between species in plant communities. These interactions influence ecological processes involved in the species dynamics: growth, regeneration and mortality. In this study, we investigated the effect of spatial pattern on productivity in mature mixed forests of sessile oak and Scots pine. We simulated tree locations with point process models and tree growth with spatially explicit individual growth models. The point process models and growth models were fitted with field data from the same stands. We compared species productivity obtained in two types of mixture: a patchy mixture and an intimate mixture. Our results show that the productivity of both species is higher in an intimate mixture than in a patchy mixture. Productivity difference between the two types of mixture was 11.3 % for pine and 14.7 % for oak. Both species were favored in the intimate mixture because, for both, intraspecific competition was more severe than interspecific competition. Our results clearly support favoring intimate mixtures in mature oak–pine stands to optimize tree species productivity; oak is the species that benefits the most from this type of management. Our work also shows that models and simulations can provide interesting results for complex forests with mixtures, results that would be difficult to obtain through experimentation.


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