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Development of low-risk methods for regenerating dead Norway spruce stands in the southern Black Forest model region

Following the extremely dry and hot years 2018, 2019 and 2020 in Germany, and the associated massive bark beetle infestations, extensive areas of Norway spruce forests have died in many parts of Europe, including Baden-Württemberg. In many cases, the damaged stands show little or no advanced regeneration to reinitiate the succession towards forest types that consist of tree species mixtures that have the potential to cope with climate change. At the same time, owing to timber market distortions as a consequence of the wide-spread damage, dramatically lower wood prices do no longer cover the operational costs of harvesting and logging.

Against this background, different approaches for regenerating the damaged stands are being discussed. These range from completely clearing the stands and subsequently establishing artificial regeneration, to simply leaving the dead trees or logs in the stands and waiting for natural regeneration to establish. Between these two extremes, a variety of harvesting and logging approaches are possible, which can be combined with artificial or natural regeneration, or a mix of both regeneration forms. The aim of this project is to analyze the outcomes of these different options for further management of dead spruce stands. For this purpose, a landscape-scale replicated experiment is being established in the model region of the southern Black Forest to study the influence of different harvesting and structural retention methods, on the artificial and natural regeneration of alternative tree species that are considered suitable to current and expected climate conditions. Our research focusses on the microclimatic conditions created by the different retained forest structures (standing dead trees, high stumps, heaped crown material etc.) and their influence on the short and medium-term performance of artificial and natural tree regeneration, in addition to the ecological effects of the different treatments at the stand level. This will allow the development of specific management recommendations to ensure successful establishment of desired regeneration and to optimize the further management of the disturbed stands.


Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhus
Researcher:Mareike Mohr, Dr. Klaus Kremer, Dr. Rüdiger Unseld

Regierungspräsidium Freiburg; FVA Baden-Württemberg


Landesforstverwaltung Baden-Württemberg; MLR; DBU



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