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Growth & yield research

Long-term research about forest growth    
Permanent plot 02-020 Birriboden, Sihlwald: The photo on the left was taken one year after a wet snowfall event in May 1907. The photo on the right is the same plot today.
WSL has been investigating the growth of trees and forests since being founded in 1887. The results of this research are an important basis for sustainable forest management. The present day goal of this research is to understand how forests develop in a changing environment under the influence of forest management.
Research topics
Forest growth research at WSL focuses on the following research Topics:
  • The influence of tree species, mixtures of tree species and silvicultural interventions on growth, structure and protective effects against natural hazards, while considering site gradients in resource availability and climatic conditions.
  • Conversion of relatively uniform stands into continuous cover forests to promote structural diversity when this is expected to achieve higher levels of productivity or other ecosystem services.
  • The influence of tree species diversity and structural diversity on the productivity of forests.
Research methods
The forest growth research platform of WSL includes a unique network of 390 plots that are measured every 5 to 12 years. The diameter and height growth of the trees are measured, and the recruitment, mortality and management interventions are also recorded. The plots are located in all of the important forest types of Switzerland (see map). Many of the plots have been under observation for more than 50 years and 18 plots have been under observation for more than 100 years. The data set offers excellent research opportunities due to its long time series and the diversity of plots, including uneven-aged stands, mountain forests and mixed-species forests. This potential is further enhanced by the existence of a similar network of WSL plots in unmanaged forests (Natural Forest Reserves).
versuchsflächen schweiz
We expect to obtain site information for each plot so that the effects of climatic and edaphic variables can be included in the analyses. We also plan to add new plots of young forests that originate from storm damage of the past 15-30 years, as well as increasing the number of experiments where specific treatments are being applied to answer ecological and management questions.
grafik derbholzzuwachs
An example of growth data from one of the plots in the single-tree selection forests. This plot has been measured for a 100 year period, with remeasurements every 5 to 8 years.


Trasobares, A.; Zingg, A.; Walthert, L.; Bigler, C., 2016:
A climate-sensitive empirical growth and yield model for forest management planning of even-aged beech stands.
Eur. J. For. Res. 135: 263-282.

Bircher, N.; Cailleret, M.; Zingg, A.; Bugmann, H., 2016:
Potenzielle Grundflächenveränderungen auf Bestandesebene im Klimawandel.
In: Pluess, A.R.; Augustin, S.; Brang, P. (Red.) Wald im Klimawandel. Grundlagen für Adaptationsstrategien. Bern, Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU; Birmensdorf, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL. Bern, Stuttgart, Wien, Haupt. 157-175.

Vitali, V.; Brang, P.; Cherubini P, Zingg, A.; Nikolova, P.S., 2016:
Radial growth changes in Norway spruce montane and subalpine forests after strip cutting in the Swiss Alps.
For. Ecol. Manage. 364: 145-153.

Bircher, N.; Cailleret, M.; Zingg, A.; Bugmann, H., 2016:
Modifications potentielles de la surface terrière à l'échelle du peuplement dans le contexte des changements climatiques.
In: Pluess, A.R.; Augustin, S.; Brang, P. (Réd.), Forêts et changements climatiques. Éléments pour des stratégies d'adaptation. Berne, Office fédéral de l'environnement OFEV; Birmensdorf, Institut fédéral de recherches WSL; Berne, Stuttgart, Vienne, Haupt. 163-181.

Zingg, A., 2016:
Das Prinzip der Plenterung - weniger ist mehr bei der Waldbewirtschaftung. [Kapitel 4.3]
In: Sophie und Karl Binding Stiftung (Hrsg.) Binding Waldpreis 2016: Weniger ist mehr - Suffizienz als Schlüssel zum Erfolg. Bürgergemeinde Basadingen-Schlattingen. Basel, Sophie und Karl Binding Stiftung. 34-37.

Schütz, J.-P.; Ammann, P.L.; Zingg, A., 2015:
Optimising the yield of Douglas-fir with an appropriate thinning regime.
Eur. J. For. Res. 134, 3: 469-480.

Peck, J.E.; Zenner, E.K.; Brang, P.; Zingg, A., 2014:
Tree size distribution and abundance explain structural complexity differentially within stands of even-aged and uneven-aged structure types.
Eur. J. For. Res. 133: 335-346.

Zingg, A.; Matter, C., 2014:
Langfristige Beobachtungsflächen. Kurz- und langfristige Auswirkungen des Klimas auf die Wälder im Churer Rheintal.
WSL Ber. 17: 17-19.

Manetti, M.C.; Pelleri, F.; Becagli, C.; Conedera, M.; Schleppi, P.; Zingg, A., 2014:
Growth dynamics and leaf area index in chestnut coppices subjected to a new silvicultural approach: Single-tree-oriented management.
Acta Hort 1038, 7: 121-128.

Hanewinkel, M., Frutig, F., Lemm, R. 2013:
Economic performance of uneven-aged forests analysed with annuities.
Oxford Journals, Forestry Vol.87, Isssue 1, Pp.49-60.

Zingg, A., 2013:
Premiers fruits des essais à long terme.
Lettr. Pro Silva Fr. 57: 10-12.

Zingg, A., 2013:
100 ans de forêt jardinée (I/II): Premiers fruits des essais à long terme.
Forêt 66, 5: 19-21.

Pretzsch, H.; Bielak, K.; Block, J.; Bruchwald, A.; Dieler, J.; Ehrhart, H.-P.; Kohnle, U.; Nagel, J.; Spellmann, H.; Zasada, M.; Zingg, A., 2013:
Productivity of mixed versus pure stands of oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. and Quercus robur L.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) along an ecological gradient.
Eur. J. For. Res. 132: 263-280.

Bebi, P.; Krumm, F.; Brändli, U.-B.; Zingg, A., 2013:
Dynamik dichter, gleichförmiger Gebirgsfichtenwälder.
Schweiz. Z. Forstwes. 164, 2: 37-46.

Zingg, A.; Kull, P., 2013:
Geissen im Wald, eine alte Nutzungsform wird wieder aktuell.
Bündner Wald 66, 4: 31-37.

Zingg, A., 2013:
Jardiner partout?
Lettr. Pro Silva Fr. 57: 13-15.

Pretzsch, H.; Bielak, K.; Bruchwald, A.; Dieler, J.; Dudzinska, M.; Ehrhart, H.-P.; Jensen, A.M.; Johannsen, V.K.; Kohnle, U.; Nagel, J.; Spellmann, H.; Zasada, M.; Zingg, A., 2013:
Mischung und Produktivität von Waldbeständen. Ergebnisse langfristiger ertragskundlicher Versuche.
Allg. Forst- Jagdztg. 184, 7/8: 177-196.

Zingg, A., 2013:
Pourquoi jardiner la forêt?
Lettr. Pro Silva Fr. 56: 9-13.

Giuggiola, A.; Bugmann, H.; Zingg, A.; Dobbertin, M.; Rigling, A., 2013:
Reduction of stand density increases drought resistance in xeric Scots pine forests.
For. Ecol. Manage. 310: 827-835.

Zingg, A., 2013:
EFI und WSL - eine gute aber nicht intensiv genutzte Partnerschaft.
AFZ/Wald 68, 17: 16-17.

Zingg, A., 2013:
EFI et WSL, un bon partenariat, mais sans utilisation intensive.
Rev. For. Fr. 65, 2: 140.

Zingg, A., 2013:
100 ans de forêt jardinée (I/II): Jardiner partout?
Forêt 66, 6: 16-18.

Rasche, L.; Fahse, L.; Zingg, A.; Bugmann, H., 2012:
Enhancing gap model accuracy by modeling dynamic height growth and dynamic maximum tree height.
Ecol. Model. 232: 133-143.

Wohlgemuth, T., 2012:
Auswirkung der Durchforstung auf die Vielfalt der Gefässpflanzen.
In: Oberholzer, E.; Stutz, H.-P.; Zingg, A. Pflege und Bewirtschaftung von Eichen-Hagebuchen-Wäldern. Angewandte Forschungsergebnisse und Praxiserfahrungen aus dem Niderholz, Gemeinden Marthalen und Reinau, Kanton Zürich. Birmensdorf, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL. 20-23.

Oberholzer, E.; Stutz, H.-P.; Zingg, A., 2012:
Pflege und Bewirtschaftung von Eichen-Hagebuchen-Wäldern. Angewandte Forschungsergebnisse und Praxiserfahrungen aus dem Niderholz, Gemeinden Marthalen und Reinau, Kanton Zürich.
Birmensdorf, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL. 36 S. (12.5 MB)

Zingg, A., 2012:
Überall plentern?
Wald Holz 93, 9: 24-29.

Zingg, A., 2012:
Gestion sylvicole: Pourquoi jardiner une forêt?
Forêt 65, 9: 14-18.

Rasche, L.; Fahse, L.; Zingg, A.; Bugmann, H., 2011:
Getting a virtual forester fit for the challenge of climatic change.
J. Appl. Ecol. 48: 1174-1186.

Zingg, A., 2011:
Warum plentern?
Wald Holz 92, 12: 23-27.

Etzold, S.; Ruehr, N.K.; Zweifel, R.; Dobbertin, M.; Zingg, A.; Pluess, P.; Häsler, R.; Eugster, W.; Buchmann, N., 2011:
The carbon balance of two contrasting mountain forest ecosystems in Switzerland: similar annual trends, but seasonal differences.
Ecosystems 14: 1289-1309.

Pretzsch, H.; Block, J.; Dieler, J.; Dong, P.H.; Kohnle, U.; Nagel, J.; Spellmann, H.; Zingg, A., 2010:
Comparison between the productivity of pure and mixed stands of Norway spruce and European beech along an ecological gradient.
Ann. For. Sci. 67: doi: 10.1051/forest/2010037: MSNr 712.

Schütz, J.-P.; Zingg, A., 2010:
Improving estimations of maximal stand density by combining Reineke's size-density rule and yield level, using the example of spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.).
Ann. For. Sci. 67: doi: 10.1051/forest/2010009: MSNr 507.

Manetti, M.C.; Amorini, E.; Becagli, C.; Pelleri, F.; Pividori, M.; Schleppi, P.; Zingg, A.; Conedera, M., 2010:
Quality Wood Production from Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) Coppice Forests - Comparison between Different Silvicultural Approaches.
Acta Hort 866: 683-692.

Alvarez-Gonzalez, J.G.; Zingg, A.; Gadow, K.V. 2010:
Estimating growth in beech forests: a study based on long term experiments in Switzerland. Ann. For. Sci. 67: doi: 10-1051/forest/2009113: MSNr 307.

Publications before 2010: Publications before 2010 [PDF]