Environmental variability and its relationship to site index in Mediterranean maritime pine

Andrés Bravo-Oviedo, Sonia Roig, Felipe Bravo, Gregorio Montero, Miren del-Río


Environmental variability and site productivity relationships, estimated by means of soil-site equations, are considered a milestone in decision making of forest management. The adequacy of silvicultural systems is related to tree response to environmental conditions. The objectives of this paper are to study climatic and edaphic variability in Mediterranean Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) forests in Spain, and the practical use of such variability in determining forest productivity by means of site index estimation. Principal component analysis was used to describe environmental conditions and patterns. Site index predictive models were fitted using partial least squares and parsimoniously by ordinary least square. Climatic variables along with parent material defined an ecological regionalization from warm and humid to cold and dry sites. Results showed that temperature and precipitation in autumn and winter, along with longitudinal gradient define extreme site qualities. The best qualities are located in warm and humid sites whereas the poorest ones are found in cold and dry regions. Site index values are poorly explained by soil properties. However, clay content in the first mineral horizon improved the soil-site model considerably. Climate is the main driver of productivity of Mediterranean Maritime pine in a broad scale. Site index differences within a homogenous climatic region are associated to soil properties.


índice de sitio; Pinus pinaster; Región mediterránea

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2011201-9106

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