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Did the 2018 drought change the partitioning of stand growth among species and tree sizes? A quantitative approach for finding appropriate thinning regimes


Drought has been increasingly causing excessive tree mortality worldwide and drought-induced tree mortality is expected to increase in the future. By killing or weakening trees, drought could change the partitioning of stand growth among size classes and species, thereby altering subsequent stand structure and productivity. Changes in growth partitioning due to droughts are rarely examined but this is critical to understand the link between tree and stand responses to drought. We will examine whether recent drought events shifted the partitioning of growth among tree size classes, altered the partitioning between different species, and determine whether this depended on stand and site characteristics. Unlike most previous studies, the project will provide a link between tree- and stand-level responses to drought, which will guide thinning strategies for mitigating drought impacts in lowland and montane Swiss beech forests.