Close-to-nature management positively improves the spatial structure of Masson pine forest stands

Fang, Xianfeng; Tan, Wei; Gao, Xiaoye; Chai, Zongzheng

Close-to-nature management (CTNM) has been proposed as a promising forestry management approach to improve the structure and quality of forests, which integrates wood production and ecological service functions. Research on the effect of CTNM on the univariate and bivariate distribution of the spatial structure of forest stands provides a scientific basis for the evaluation of CTNM implemented in forestry. Here, we analyzed and compared the spatial-structure characteristics of Masson pine (Pinus massoniana) plantations (young, middle-age, and near-mature stages) under CTNM 8 years after selective cutting and unmanaged control. We used univariate and bivariate distribution of three spatial-structure parameters: mingling (inline-formulaM), dominance (inline-formulaU), and uniform-angle index (inline-formulaW). Results showed that the effect of CTNM on spatial structure was more remarkable in middle-aged and near-mature Masson pine forests compared with the young forest. CTNM significantly improved mingling degree and promoted the horizontal distribution, thereby changing from a cluster to a random distribution. Moreover, CTNM improved the proportion of trees with a high mixing degree and random distribution and the proportion of trees having a micro-structure of random distribution with a high degree of mixture and dominance with a high degree of mixture in middle-aged and near-mature Masson pine forest. Overall, the implementation of CTNM 8 years ago showed a positive effect on the improvement of the spatial structure of Masson pine forest, but the present spatial structure is suboptimal. Further implementation of CTNM to adjust the mingling and uniform-angle index is necessary, and CTNM according to this method of frequency distribution of stand structure parameters can improve the success of forest management.

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Fang, Xianfeng / Tan, Wei / Gao, Xiaoye / et al: Close-to-nature management positively improves the spatial structure of Masson pine forest stands. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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