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Sakari Sarkkola (email), Hannu Hökkä, Timo Penttilä

Natural development of stand structure in peatland Scots pine following drainage: results based on long-term monitoring of permanent sample plots

Sarkkola S., Hökkä H., Penttilä T. (2004). Natural development of stand structure in peatland Scots pine following drainage: results based on long-term monitoring of permanent sample plots. Silva Fennica vol. 38 no. 4 article id 408. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.408


We studied the dynamics of stand structure on drained peatland sites in Scots pine dominated stands untreated with thinnings. The data consisted of consecutive stand measurements in 10 permanent sample plots where the monitoring periods varied from 29 to 66 years. We assumed that the stand’s structural development was driven by the natural processes of regeneration, growth, and mortality, all related to inter-tree competition within the stand. The DBH distributions of live and dead trees at different times of post-drainage stand development – smoothed by Weibull function – were analysed to characterise the change in stand structure. The initial uneven-sized structure of the natural, widely-spaced stands became more uneven during the first decades following drainage due to enhanced regeneration. Later, as stand density and mean tree size continuously increased, the DBH distributions approached bell-shaped distributions. Accordingly, the suppressed trees showed their highest mortality rate during the first decades, but the peak of the mortality distribution shifted to larger trees along stand succession. The change in structure was faster in southern Finland than in northern Finland. We assumed the changes in stand dynamics reflected increased inter-tree competition, initiated by enhanced site productivity and increased stand stocking resulting from the ditching operation.

Pinus sylvestris; peatland; tree mortality; stand structure; drainage; dbh distribution

Author Info
  • Sarkkola, University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland E-mail sakari.sarkkola@helsinki.fi (email)
  • Hökkä, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Rovaniemi Research Station, P.O. Box 16, FI-96301 Rovaniemi, Finland E-mail hh@nn.fi
  • Penttilä, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland E-mail tp@nn.fi

Received 5 September 2003 Accepted 17 August 2004 Published 31 December 2004

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Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.408 | Download PDF

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