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A. Fichtner, K. Sturm, C. Rickert, W. Härdtle and J. Schrautzer Competition response of European beech Fagus sylvatica L. varies with tree size and abiotic stress: minimizing anthropogenic disturbances in forests Journal of Applied Ecology 49

Article first published online: 24 SEP 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02196.x

Tree–tree interactions in beech forests showed a clear pattern which depended on tree maturation and resource supply. This highlights the importance of considering tree size-related changes along environmental gradients in regional growth models. Our findings indicate that management practices could facilitate both timber production and nature conservation demands by adapting thinning approaches to age- and resource-related tree growth patterns. We propose a distinct reduction in thinning intensity, particularly for larger beech trees growing on sites with optimum below-ground resources. This would increase the permanent stand volumes and promote natural stand dynamics, which in turn would benefit biodiversity typical of old-growth beech forest ecosystems.

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