Regional Variability of the Romanian Main Tree Species Growth Using National Forest Inventory Increment Cores Marin, Gheorghe; Strimbu, Vlad C.; Abrudan, Ioan V.; Strimbu, Bogdan M.
In many countries, National Forest Inventory (NFI) data is used to assess the variability of forest growth across the country. The identification of areas with similar growths provides the foundation for development of regional models. The objective of the present study is to identify areas with similar diameter and basal area growth using increment cores acquired by the NFI for the three main Romanian species: Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst), European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), and Sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.). We used 6536 increment cores with ages less than 100 years, a total of 427,635 rings. The country was divided in 21 non-overlapping ecoregions based on geomorphology, soil, geology and spatial contiguousness. Mixed models and multivariate analyses were used to assess the differences in annual dimeter at breast height and basal area growth among ecoregions. Irrespective of the species, the mixed models analysis revealed significant differences in growth between the ecoregions. However, some ecoregions were similar in terms of growth and could be aggregated. Multivariate analysis reinforced the difference between ecoregions and showed no temporal grouping for spruce and beech. Sessile oak growth was separated not only by ecoregions, but also by time, with some ecoregions being more prone to draught. Our study showed that countries of median size, such as Romania, could exhibit significant spatial differences in forest growth. Therefore, countrywide growth models incorporate too much variability to be considered operationally feasible. Furthermore, it is difficult to justify the current growth and yield models as a legal binding planning tool.
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