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Stem number distributions in uneven-aged forests are assumed to be stable, if they follow special functions, e.g. de Liocourt’s reverse J-shaped breast height diameter distribution. These distributions therefore are frequently regarded as a target in all-aged forests. Intending to convert an even-aged forest or any other forest, not yet exhibiting this sort of equilibrium, towards a steady state forest, the question rises, how to choose an appropriate equilibrium curve and how to achieve this stem number distribution by an appropriate thinning and harvesting schedule. Two stands are investigated: One dominated by Norway spruce (Picea abies), having developed from a 120 year old even-aged stand 25 years ago, after several “target diameter thinnings”. The other one is a mixed species stand of Norway spruce, white fir (Abies alba), larch (Larix europea), common beech (Fagus silvatica), and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), having lost its typical uneven-aged structure 20 years ago. These stands were used, together with the distance independent individual tree growth model PrognAus, to reveal that 1) there are more than only one equilibrium curve per stand, 2) not every hypothesised equilibrium can be reached with any stand, 3) an equilibrium in stem number does not necessarily mean a stable species distribution, and 4) growth models provide an excellent help to decide between several equilibrium curves and harvesting schedules to reach them.
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