The development and growth of larch stands in Lithuania

https://doi.org/10.17221/6/2018-JFSCitation:Godvod K., Brazaitis G., Bačkaitis J., Kulbokas G. (2018): The development and growth of larch stands in Lithuania. J. For. Sci., 64: 199-206.
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Changing climate conditions and increasing demands for timber and wood products create a need to cultivate highly productive forest stands. High productivity, good wood quality and adaption to climate change make European larch a promising species for Lithuania. The aim of this research was to evaluate the productivity and sustainability of the larch stands. We tested the hypothesis that larch stands mixed with other species are more productive than the pure larch stands. In total, our study sampled 138 larch stands, mixed stands (91) and pure stands (47) that aged between 30 and 60 years old in Lithuania. We evaluated these stands using dendrologic, dendrometric and phytocoenological characteristics and determined the main factors affecting productivity and stability of larch stands. Our study showed that pure larch stands have higher mean annual increment and are more productive than mixed larch stands. However, we found that timber volumes decreased in both pure and mixed larch stands over 50 years of age. This happens due to the absence of forestry treatments, such as thinnings in the larch stands, thus resulting in natural tree dieback. The development of thinning guidelines could make larch stands a valuable and productive source of timber.

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