Mixed forests are more productive and ecologically resilient

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In Germany, mixed forests are more productive than monocultures. This is true on all five continents, and particularly in regions with high precipitation according to an international study. Trees in mixed-species forests are often better supplied with light, water, and soil nutrients via their complementary crown and root systems.

But these arguments alone have not yet managed to convince forestry management to promote mixed-species stands. This meta-analysis and overview study now shows that a prudent selection of the combination of tree species leads not only to more ecological and resilient forests, but also to greater productivity.

The forestry experiments in Bavaria are the oldest in the world, and provide a unique empirical data basis. As early as the 1870’s, Permanent Secretary for Forestry August von Ganghofer had experimental areas created with the conviction that only repeated analyses supply reliable information. Most of those experimental plots are continuously measured till present.