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Elaboration of advanced-level models for density management of coniferous and broadleaved even-aged natural stands and plantations in Europe

Final Report Summary - EurSDMDPineBirchOak (Elaboration of advanced-level models for density management of coniferous and broadleaved even-aged natural stands and plantations in Europe)

The main scientific field of this project is forest modeling and its primary research objective is to improve the predictive abilities and practical applicability and to extend the modeling framework of a class of stand level models: the Stand Density Management Diagrams (SDMD). The improvement includes reformulation of the main functional elements of the whole stand model to develop flexible and adequate dynamic component and derivation of new, size-class sub-models for stand structure characterisation. The newly elaborated Dynamic Structural Stand Density Management Diagram (DSSDMD) is to be tested and applied to natural even-aged stands and plantations presented by Quercus robur and Betula pubescens stands from north-western Spain and Pinus sylvestris plantations from Bulgaria. The implementation of the research activities is combined with a training program for enhancement of the research fellow's qualification in forest models research area by study of the Dynamic growth model by the host team and for broadening of her professional background through introductory training on the carbon dynamics investigation in forest systems.

The modification and improvement of the SDMD functional elements involved reformulation of the whole stand model to 3 principal and 2 auxiliary sub-models fitted simultaneously to assure the system compatibility. The Equivalent height curves sub-model and the Natural thinning trajectories sub-model were collapsed to a single functional relationship presenting the growth dependence on stand density in both space and time and the SDMDs models were specified to the individual stands by 3 site-specific parameters. A disaggregation system for stand structure characterisation composed of a diameter distribution model and a height-diameter function was incorporated in the model.

Ten scientific publications and development of a growth simulator (computer software) are envisaged for dissemination of the Project results. The elaboration of the DSSDMD led to derivation of new, original mortality models, dynamic self-thinning model and advanced-level complex density management models (DSSDMD) and publications in leading scientific journals will be based on them. The diameter distribution model, site index model and height-diameter relationships for Scots pine plantations in Bulgaria are unique contributions for the particular species, study area and type of model, currently missing from the forest modeling literature and are subjects of several other manuscripts.

To take advantage of the project foreground, the development of a simulator on the newly elaborated DSSDMD is planned. It aims at practical application of the models in accomplishment of their main purposes: to estimate stand-level growth parameters and tree diameter and height distributions at any stand growth stage and to simulate alternative thinning regimes in accordance with preferred management objective, with projection of the future stand growth and estimate of the total harvest. The simulator will be applicable to Scots pine plantations in Bulgaria and natural oak and birch stands in North-western Spain and can be used by the respective forest managers. Its subsequent online publication for further dissemination is envisaged. The software will be of particular use to the Forestry in Bulgaria where such management tools are currently absent. It will be designed as a standard platform in which new DSSDMD may be implemented in the future. The knowledge, competences and professional experience acquired by the research fellow during the project implementation would allow her further career development through applications for higher job positions and research grants (Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, Starting Independent Researcher Grant) and her active role in recognition and strengthening of the forest modeling research area in her country of origin, with the support and within the international network of the established professional contacts.