GRK2300: Economic implications of species mixtures in European beech stands enriched with coniferous trees

Mixed forests are encouraged by the German forestry policy as a strategy to fulfill the present demands and future challenges related to forests. They can better adapt to environmental changes and compensate for risks, such as storms,pests, tree diseases, droughts, and other climate-related risks, thus presenting posizive effects on the survival of the species in a mixture under a scenario of climate change. They also provide different advantages related to forest soil and nutrients, groundwater storage, aesthetics, habitat diversification, and fauna and flora species richness. Besides, mixed stands are often more productive than one- species stands, and they can show better yields than the average of pure stands of a particular species. 

Although mixed forests promote more ecologically- relatet functions than economic aspects, the reduction in economic risks is also a strong supportive argument for this kind of forests. Besides reducing the risk related to the forest susceptibility to calamities, as previously stated, continuous and regular harvesting operations in mixed forests would diminish the risk related to the concentration of timber harvest at only one point in time by providing options for future harvests. Also, the establishment of a portfolio of tree species, as adopted in mixed forests, is a solution for the fluctuating demand for distinct timber species, qualities, and log sizes.

As part of the Research Training Group 2300 (RTG 2300), “Enrichment of European beech forests with conifers: impacts of functional traits on ecosystem functioning”, this subproject aims to assess the economic returns and associated risks of mixed forests of European beech with Douglas fir and Norway spruce compared to the pure stands of these species. The main hypothesis is that the mixed forests will show higher and more stable long-term economic returns while presenting less associated risks compared to pure stands. The subproject focuses on two main audiences: the private and public beneficiaries. The first part of our subproject will analyse the wood production and stand structure of admixtures considering a risk-averse forest owner. The second part of the subproject will then evaluate the trade-offs between multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity, which can be of high interest for public institutions. The structural diversity and ecological trade-offs in the mixtures of such species will probably result in less associated-risks, enhanced ecosystem functioning, and higher economic utility for both private and public beneficiaries.

Person in charge:

Topanotti, L..; Paul, C.


Funded by:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


Project partner:

RTG 2300

Norddeutsche Forstliche Versuchsanstalt