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Current growth differences of Norway spruce (Picea abies), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and birch (Betula pendula and Betula pubescens) in different regions in Sweden

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The choice of species in forestry is important, and a real issue as large areas of wind-damaged forest land in southern Sweden need to be regenerated. To compare the growth potential between the most common tree species in Sweden, ratios between site quality derived from site index values determined with site properties were used. A regression function to determine site index for birch from site properties was used to complement the known relationships between site properties and site index for spruce and pine. In large regions of Sweden the distribution of site quality classes was calculated to compare the special characteristics and demands of the three species. On average, the growth difference for pine compared to spruce was about 60% in southern Sweden and 95% in northern Sweden. Corresponding figures between birch and spruce were 40% and 60%. Birch was expected to produce around 60% of pine in northern Sweden and about 70% in southern Sweden. However, it must be stressed that the comparison is based on survey data encompassing mainly naturally regenerated birch, whereas spruce and pine are mainly planted.
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Keywords: Downy birch; Norway spruce; Scots pine; silver birch; site index; site properties; site quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Alnarp, Sweden 2: Tonnersjoheden Experimental Forest, Simlångsdalen, Sweden 3: Jamtland County Council Institute, Hedemora, Sweden 4: Swedish Forest Agency, Jonkoping, Sweden 5: Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Umeå, Sweden 6: Sodra, Head Office, Vaxjo, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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