iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


A silvicultural stand density model to control understory in maritime pine stands

Teresa F Fonseca (1)   , João C Duarte (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 5, Pages 829-836 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2173-010
Published: Sep 25, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

The aim of this study was to provide optimal silvicultural guidelines for the maintenance of low understory vegetation cover in maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) stands in Mediterranean areas prone to the occurrence of forest fires. An extensive data set from maritime pine stands of northern Portugal was used to assess the effect of stand density on the understory cover. A statistically significant relationship between the spacing-top height factor (Fw) and the understory cover was found. An ecologically-based density regulation model was developed based on Fw = 0.21, which provided the optimal stand density and canopy cover to prevent the understory growth and proliferation, thereby reducing the vulnerability to forest fire and ensuring at the same time the highest values of stand yield. The developed model represents a supporting tool for density regulation of maritime pine stands in areas prone to forest fires. The representativeness of the supporting data set (in terms of number of sample plots and variability of the stands characteristics) provides confidence in the generalization of our results to different maritime pine stands in the Mediterranean area. This study suggests that managing stand density may be an effective adaptive management procedure which can help reducing the forest fire hazard.


Silviculture, Density Regulation, Understory Reduction, Pinus pinaster

Authors’ address

Teresa F Fonseca
Departamento de Ciências Florestais e Arquitetura Paisagista (CIFAP), Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5000-801 Vila Real (Portugal)
João C Duarte
Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas, Parque Florestal, 5000-567 Vila Real (Portugal)

Corresponding author

Teresa F Fonseca


Fonseca TF, Duarte JC (2017). A silvicultural stand density model to control understory in maritime pine stands. iForest 10: 829-836. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2173-010

Academic Editor

Rupert Seidl

Paper history

Received: Jul 16, 2016
Accepted: Jun 26, 2017

First online: Sep 25, 2017
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2017
Publication Time: 3.03 months

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