Martin Šrámek, Václav Hurt, Jan Čermák
Above- and below-ground tree parameters and their development after modelling of thinning in young elm stands
Dendrobiology 2017, vol. 77: 77-90
During the last century almost two-thirds of all elms were lost due to the Dutch elm disease. Therefore, elms are an endangered species with a lasting lack of knowledge about ecosystem functions of elms in forest stands. The study describes several above- and below-ground tree parameters and their changes after simulation of thinning in one young forest stand with dominant Ulmus laevis Pall. in the Czech Republic. The distribution of the leaves was measured using the ‘cloud’ technique. The absorptive root area was measured with the aid of the modified earth impedance method to evaluate below-ground tree parameters. Using allometric equations, it was possible to calculate certain tree parameters of individual trees as well as the entire forest stand. The modelling of four thinning intensities (low, medium, high and very high) helped to establish the changes of these tree parameters after treatment. The leaf area index of the stand was 5.6, the absorptive root area index was 1.7 and the total biomass of foliage was 8.5 Mg ha–1 prior to the treatment. The absorptive root area amounted to 30% of the foliage area. The exponential models were developed to predict the above- and below-ground tree parameters. Under the different thinning intensities, the following were found: a negative correlation with the number of trees for the leaf area index, the foliage biomass and the absorptive root area index. This knowledge is important in the process of maintaining the presence of endangered elms in forest stands and in ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage) throughout Europe.
Keywords: elm, leaf area, absorptive root area, biomass, thinning