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Effect of topography and geology on the site index of Picea abies in the West Carpathian, Poland

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The effects of topographic features and the soil parent rock on the site index of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] were examined. Field data were collected on 347 plots located in the Polish West Carpathian. On these plots, the diameter at breast height and the height of trees were measured and the age of trees was determined. On 64 plots one dominant or codominant tree was felled for stem analysis. In addition, topographic features of each site were measured, including elevation above sea level, aspect and slope. Stem analysis data were used in the development of a local site index system, which was used for calculating the site index for particular plots. In order to interpret site index as functions of elevation, aspect, slope, size of a mountain massif and soil parent rock, the multiple regression model was used, which explained 79.0% of the variation in Norway spruce site index. Elevation above sea level was the major factor responsible for variation in site index, and was negatively correlated (R2adj=0.610) with site index. Site index also depended on the soil parent rock. The stands growing on the tertiary Magura sandstones had considerably higher site indices than those located on the geological substratum composed of Istebna and Godula sandstones formed during the Cretaceous period. The site index of Norway spruce is also determined by the aspect, slope and height of mountain massif.

Keywords: Norway spruce; site productivity; soil parent rock; topographic features

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Forest Mensuration, Faculty of Forestry, Agricultural University in Krakow, Krakow, Poland

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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