Crown Architecture and Structural Development of Young Norway Spruce Trees (Picea abies Karst.): A Basis for More Realistic Growth Modelling

Marek Fabrika, Ľubomír Scheer, Robert Sedmák, Winfried Kurth, Martin Schön


The crown architecture and structural growth strongly affect the total volume and biomass of Norway spruce trees at a specific age. The main objective of this study was to explore the branching strategy of young spruce trees growing in a highly-dense naturally regenerated forest stand. The level of branching described by the Gravelius order of the growth units, as well as the unit’s branching direction and angles were analyzed. The significant factors that influence the occurrence frequency of growth units were the branching order and their life status. The results manifested the highest frequency of growth units in the first and second order in given conditions. A significant association between the branching direction of the mother unit and the first successive growth unit of higher order was revealed. Also, the mean branching angles were influenced by the branching order and relative position of the growth unit in relation to the mother unit. The branching angle distributions were left-skewed and the angles varied between 40° and 70°. The results improve our understanding of structural development of spruce crowns and can contribute to more realistic modeling of biomass production using tree growth simulators.


Norway spruce; Crown; Growth unit; Branching strategy

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