Modeling Bark Thickness and Bark Biomass on Stems of Four Broadleaved Tree Species

Plants (Basel). 2022 Apr 24;11(9):1148. doi: 10.3390/plants11091148.

ABSTRACT

Considering the surface of individual tree compartments, it is obvious that the main portion of bark, i.e., the largest area and the greatest bulk mass, is located on the stem. We focused on basic bark properties, specifically thickness, surface area, biomass, and specific surface mass (expressed as dry weight per square unit) on stems of four broadleaved species: common aspen (Populus tremula L.), goat willow (Salix caprea L.), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.). Based on the previous work from mature forests, we hypothesize that bark properties of young trees are also species-specific and change along the stem profile. Thus, across the regions of Slovakia, we selected 27 forest stands composed of one of the target broadleaved species with ages up to 12 years. From the selected forests, 600 sample trees were felled and stem bark properties were determined by measuring bark thickness, weighing bark mass after its separation from the stem, and drying to achieve a constant weight. Since the bark originated from trees of varying stem diameters and from different places along the stem (sections from the stem base 0-50, 51-100, 101-150, 151-200, and 201-250 cm), we could create regression models of stem characteristics based on the two mentioned variables. Our results confirmed that bark thickness, thus also specific surface mass, increased with stem diameter and decreased with distance from the stem base. While common aspen had the thickest stem bark (4.5 mm on the stem base of the largest trees) the thinnest bark from the analyzed species was found for sycamore (nearly three times thinner than the bark of aspen). Since all four tree species are very attractive to large wild herbivores as forage, besides other uses, we might consider our bark mass models also in terms of estimating forage potential and quantity of bark mass consumed by the herbivory.

PMID:35567149 | DOI:10.3390/plants11091148

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