iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Scots pine’s capacity to adapt to climate change in hemi-boreal forests in relation to dominating tree increment and site condition

Marius Mikalajunas (1), Hans Pretzsch (2), Gintautas Mozgeris (1), Edgaras Linkevičius (1), Ingrida Augustaitiene (1), Algirdas Augustaitis (1)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 5, Pages 473-482 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3703-014
Published: Oct 18, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Research Articles

Forest site (FS) and meteorological conditions are recognized as the main factors affecting tree growth and whole-stand sustainability. This study aims to detect the combined effects of FS and meteorological conditions on tree ring formation of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), the most common tree species in Lithuania and hemi-boreal forests of northeastern Europe. We used data on stand structure and productivity from the Lithuanian National Forest Inventory (NFI) and stem radial increment series of dominating trees during the period 1993-2012 collected since 2013. Pine stem basal area increment (BAI) was chosen as the response variable, while temperature in March (°C) and precipitation in June (mm) were used as predictor variables, as they best express the effect of climate change on Lithuanian forests. We simulated the effects on dominating pine annual increment of deciduous tree species, mainly Betula sp. and the level of soil moisture and fertility, accounting in addition for the random effects of NFI network tract, plot direction, and tree number. A nonlinear mixed-effects model explained up to 68% of the variation in the BAI of pine trees. The annual pine trees BAI increased with the increase in the proportion of deciduous trees in pine stands. Increases in temperature and precipitation in considered months reinforced this positive effect on pine BAI, especially in mature pine stands in temporarily waterlogged meso-eutrophic FSs on mineral soils. A negative effect of deciduous trees on pine stem increment was observed only in nutrient-rich eutrophic and drained peatland FSs. Forestry treatments directed towards the increase in deciduous tree proportion in the most common normal or temporarily waterlogged meso-eutrophic and oligotrophic pine stands might increase the biodiversity and productivity of pine stands, and their sustainability in future climate change scenarios.


Scots Pine, Basal Area Increment, Site Conditions, Meteorology, Mixed-effects, Hemi-Boreal Forests

Authors’ address

Hans Pretzsch 0000-0002-4958-1868
Technische Universität München, Am Hochenger, D-85354 Freising (Germany)

Corresponding author

Algirdas Augustaitis


Mikalajunas M, Pretzsch H, Mozgeris G, Linkevičius E, Augustaitiene I, Augustaitis A (2021). Scots pine’s capacity to adapt to climate change in hemi-boreal forests in relation to dominating tree increment and site condition. iForest 14: 473-482. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3703-014

Academic Editor

Gianluca Piovesan

Paper history

Received: Nov 20, 2020
Accepted: Aug 17, 2021

First online: Oct 18, 2021
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2021
Publication Time: 2.07 months

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