Biomass allocation in natural regeneration of Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies trees in Italian Alps

Fabio Pastorella 1  and Alessandro Paletto 2
  • 1 Project Centre “MOUNTFOR”, European Forest Institute (EFI), San Michele A/A (TN), 38010, Italy
  • 2 Forest Monitoring and Planning Research Unit, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Trento, 38123, Italy

Abstract

Biomass allocation in seedlings and saplings at different stages of growth is important information for studying the response of species to site conditions. The objectives of the paper are: (a) to analyse the relationship between height and biomass in young Norway spruce and European beech trees, (b) to study the influence of the leaf area on ontogenetic growth stages and biomass sequestration capacity on the regeneration of these two species. 96 seedlings (H < 30 cm) and saplings (31 < H < 130 cm) were collected in different light conditions in a case study in the Alps (Trentino province, Italy). Leaf Area Index and shoot/root ratio were used as indicators of the ecological conditions (e.g. light, soil moisture, nutrient status) able to influence the seedlings and saplings growth. Two non-linear regressions were fitted to analyse the relationship between height and biomass and to develop the aboveground and below-ground allometric equations. Non-linear regressions show that sapling or seedling height is a good predictor of above-ground and below-ground biomass with a R2 aj above 0.8 for all equations and a R2 aj above 0.9 for above-ground biomass of Norway spruce. The results show that silvicultural practices may influence the regeneration patterns and increase the biomass allocation rate influencing stand density and canopy cover.

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