iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Dead wood and stand structure - relationships for forest plots across Europe

Walter Seidling (1)   , Davide Travaglini (2), Peter Meyer (3), Peter Waldner (4), Richard Fischer (5), Oliver Granke (6), Gherardo Chirici (7), Piermaria Corona (8)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 5, Pages 269-281 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1057-007
Published: Apr 14, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

Dead wood and stand structural parameters were sampled in eleven countries using standardized methods at about 90 intensive forest monitoring sites across large parts of Europe. Besides descriptions and correlation analyses of dead wood and stand structure parameters, a joint evaluation of both fields was performed by principal component analysis (PCA). The extracted principal components were subsequently regressed against important numerical and categorical site-related parameters like soil pH, altitude, or forest type. Dead wood volumes varied largely across plots, however, 77 percent of them had volumes below 25 cubic meter per hectare. While all fractions of dead wood - except cut stumps - reveal high intercorrelation, different aspects of stand structure varied more independently. Clark-Evans index, number of tree species and standard deviation of tree trunk diameters revealed as most self-contained. The 1st PCA axis covered 46 percent of the total variance and was mostly loaded by total dead wood volume denoting it as the feature differentiating forests most. The 2nd axis was primarily loaded by tree species diversity together with stem density and the Clark-Evans index. On the 3rd axis diameter differentiation of trees together with the volume of cut stumps prevailed, while the 4th was mainly related to the decay class of woody debris. Bivariate ex post analyses revealed country as a significant predictor of all PCA axes, underlining national forest legislations and management rules as crucial for all investigated structural features of forests. Forest type was related only to the 3rd and 2nd axis. Only the 3rd axis revealed significant relationships with some ecological site factors (age, number of tree layers, latitude, altitude). The outcome underlines the significance of nationally enacted forest legislations for both important structural and biodiversity-relevant features of forest ecosystems and encourages similar approaches with data from national forest inventories or monitoring systems.


Structural Diversity, Principle Component Analysis, Forest Monitoring, ICP Forests, ForestBIOTA

Authors’ address

Walter Seidling
Thünen Institute of Forest Ecosystems, Eberswalde (Germany)
Davide Travaglini
Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agrari, Alimentari e Forestali, University of Florence (Italy)
Peter Meyer
Northwest-German Forestry Research Station, Goettingen (Germany)
Peter Waldner
WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Birmensdorf (Switzerland)
Richard Fischer
Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, Hamburg (Germany)
Oliver Granke
DigSyLand, Husby (Germany)
Gherardo Chirici
Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Territorio, University of Molise, Pesche (Italy)
Piermaria Corona
Consiglio per la ricerca e la sperimentazione in agricoltura, Forestry Research Centre, Arezzo (Italy)

Corresponding author

Walter Seidling


Seidling W, Travaglini D, Meyer P, Waldner P, Fischer R, Granke O, Chirici G, Corona P (2014). Dead wood and stand structure - relationships for forest plots across Europe. iForest 7: 269-281. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1057-007

Academic Editor

Enrico Marchi

Paper history

Received: Jun 24, 2013
Accepted: Feb 27, 2014

First online: Apr 14, 2014
Publication Date: Oct 01, 2014
Publication Time: 1.53 months

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