Skip to main content

Spatio-temporal prediction of site index based on forest inventories and climate change scenarios

Year of Publication
Publication Type

A methodological framework is provided for the quantification of climate change effects on site index. Spatio-temporal predictions of site index are derived for six major tree species in the German state of Baden-Württemberg using simplified universal kriging (UK) based on large data sets from forest inventories and a climate sensitive site-index model. It is shown by a simulation study that, with the underlying large sample size, residual kriging using ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates of the mean function leads to an approximately unbiased spatial predictor. Moreover, the simulated coverage probabilities of resulting prediction intervals are quite close to the required level. B-spline regression techniques are applied to model nonlinear cause-and-effect curves for estimating site indexes at existing inventory plots dependent on retrospective climate covariates. The spatially structured error is modeled by exponential covariance functions. The mean model is then applied to downscaled climate projection data to spatially predict the relative changes of site index under perturbed climate conditions.Applying climate projections of an existing regional climate model based on IPCC emission scenarios A1B and A2, it is found that site index of all tree species would be decreased in lowland areas, and may increase in mountainous regions. Silver fir and common oak stands would also show increased site indexes in mountainous regions, but further extended to lower elevation levels. Site conditions in the Alpine foothills may remain highly productive for growth of Norway spruce, Baden-most dominant tree species. Whereas site index of common beech and Douglas-fir may decrease to almost the same relative amount and on nearly the same sites as Norway spruce, site index of Scots pine may be less affected by future climate change.

A. Nothdurft; T. Wolf; A. Ringeler; J. Bohner; J. Saborowski

Nothdurft A, Wolf T, Ringeler A, Bohner J, Saborowski J. Spatio-temporal prediction of site index based on forest inventories and climate change scenarios. Forest Ecology and Management. 2012 ;279:15.

Publication Topics