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Age and spatial structure of natural Pinus sylvestris stands in Latvia

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The age and spatial structure of six natural old growth Pinus sylvestris stands in Latvia were investigated, to attempt to identify retrospectively the past features of development. In each stand, one or two plots of size 200–900 m 2 were established. Tree locations were mapped, stem diameter was measured, and tree age was determined from cores or by counting branch whorls. Tree distribution was assessed by Ripley's K function. A clumped spatial pattern was shown for P. sylvestris younger than 100 years. The temporal patterns of establishment could be partly linked to favourable climatic periods. The major disturbance affecting pine stands along the coast was windblown sand, which partly buried some stems and probably affected the patterns of seedling recruitment and mortality. Disturbance caused by fire had a major role in determining the past regimens of mortality and establishment in dry stands located inland. The successful invasion during the last century of spruce in more mesic plots with a pine overstorey may be due to fire suppression.

Keywords: Disturbance; Scots pine; fire; wind

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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