Relationships between Structural Indices and Conventional Stand Attributes in an Old-Growth Forest in Southeast Europe
Srdan Keren , Miroslav Svoboda , Pavel Janda , Thomas Nagel
AbstractStructural indices are oftenproposedas guidingmeasures for increasing structuralheterogeneity. However, few studies have examined the association between such indices and conventional stand attributes. The primary objectives of this studywere to evaluate changes in structural heterogeneity and tree species diversity at different plot sizes and to quantify the relationships between conventional stand attributes (mean tree diameter, absolute tree density, basal area, species proportion) and structural indices in a mixed old-growth forest in Southeast Europe. Paired tests were used to identify significant changes in structural heterogeneity with increased plot area, while the relationships between stand attributes and analyzed indices (Gini, diameter differentiation, species mingling, and Shannon’s index) were evaluated with Pearson’s correlations. The index values of Gini, diameter differentiation, and tree speciesminglingwere rather stablewith the increase of plot size, whereas tree species diversity increased significantlywith the increase of plot area from200m2 to 1500m2. Themeasures of tree speciesmingling and tree species diversity were strongly associated with each other, while their association with diameter variability was weak to moderately strong. Tree species mingling index was strongly associated with the changes in tree species proportions. However, conventional stand attributes were generally not strongly correlated with the examined indices. For restoring and maintaining old-growth characteristics, forest managers may use structural indices to increase small-scale structural heterogeneity, tree species mingling, and diversity, but only as an additional set of measures, not as surrogates for conventional stand attributes.
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