Open Access

Effect of different tree mortality patterns on stand development in the forest model SIBYLA


Forest mortality critically affects stand structure and the quality of ecosystem services provided by forests. Spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) generates rather complex infestation and mortality patterns, and implementation of such patterns in forest models is challenging. We present here the procedure, which allows to simulate the bark beetle-related tree mortality in the forest dynamics model Sibyla. We explored how sensitive various production and stand structure indicators are to tree mortality patterns, which can be generated by bark beetles. We compared the simulation outputs for three unmanaged forest stands with 40, 70 and 100% proportion of spruce as affected by the disturbance-related mortality that occurred in a random pattern and in a patchy pattern. The used tree species and age class-specific mortality rates were derived from the disturbance-related mortality records from Slovakia. The proposed algorithm was developed in the SQLite using the Python language, and the algorithm allowed us to define the degree of spatial clustering of dead trees ranging from a random distribution to a completely clustered distribution; a number of trees that died in either mode is set to remain equal. We found significant differences between the long-term developments of the three investigated forest stands, but we found very little effect of the tested mortality modes on stand increment, tree species composition and diversity, and tree size diversity. Hence, our hypothesis that the different pattern of dead trees emergence should affect the competitive interactions between trees and regeneration, and thus affect selected productivity and stand structure indicators was not confirmed.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other