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Gewählte Publikation:

Engel, M; Korner, M; Berger, U.
(2018): Plastic tree crowns contribute to small-scale heterogeneity in virgin beech forests-An individual-based modeling approach
ECOL MODEL. 2018; 376: 28-39. FullText FullText_BOKU

Old-growth beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests in Europe show a structural heterogeneity, which distinguish from managed ones. Recent investigations revealed that facilitative belowground interactions might counteract aboveground competition for light. However, the exact interaction of these mechanisms is unclear. We developed the BEEchPlasticity (BEEP) model to investigate whether the mere focus on the aboveground competition for canopy space with subsequent modeling of the light transmittance through the forest canopy suffices to reproduce the observed structural attributes. The BEEP model is individual-based, and explicitly describes the plasticity of tree crowns in a three-dimensional space through a geometric approach. This conceptual design allows tracing neighborhood effects to the forest stand level. We ran 10 simulation experiments with 1000 time steps on a simulation area of 0.5oha. We analyzed the emerging spatial point patterns, gap dynamics as well as distributions of tree age, tree height, tree crown projection area, and tree diameter. By applying various indices that revealed the emergent horizontal and vertical forest structure, we were able to show a strong mutual link between beech crown plasticity and forest heterogeneity. The crown plasticity enabled the trees to close small gaps, which resulted in a highly dynamic tree regeneration, which in turn led to a small-scale heterogeneous forest structure. We found that, over long periods, crown centroids of canopy trees taller than 20om were more regularly distributed than stem foot points. Absolute crown displacements were greater than reported from beech stands in North-Germany and the Sudetes in the Czech Republic. This indicates a need to restrain the model crown growth in order to recognize tree architecture and stability. We could simulate an increasing forest structural heterogeneity. Starting with a structural homogeneous layer of tree saplings, we showed that forest structures similar to those in unmanaged beech forests took several tree generations or approximately 700 time steps to emerge. We recommend enhancing this model approach with spatial explicit modeling of the leaf-area distribution, which has already been done for single beech trees.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Engel Markus

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Old-growth forests
Fagus sylvatica L.
Crown plasticity

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