The Destructive Static Tree-Pulling Test Provides Reliable Estimates of the Soil-Root Plate of Eastern Baltic Silver Birch (Betula pendula Roth.)

Plants (Basel). 2022 Jun 4;11(11):1509. doi: 10.3390/plants11111509.


Under the intensifying cyclonic activity, the wind resistance of European forests could be increased through science-based adaptive forest management, which requires the quantification of tree stability. In this regard, the dimensions of the soil-root plate can be directly attributed to tree wind resistance; however, naturally uprooted trees might be a biased source of information for the evaluation of adaptive measures due to uncontrolled conditions and uneven sample size. Therefore, the dimensions of the soil-root plates of naturally windthrown silver birch trees (Betula pendula Roth.) are compared to artificially overturned trees under a static tree-pulling test in Eastern Baltic region. The application of static tree-pulling overestimated the dimensions of the soil-root plates of silver birch compared to windthrown trees. The overestimation of soil-root plate dimensions was consistent spatially and across soil types, which is likely a regional adaptation to local wind climate. This implies that static tree-pulling is representative of the assessment of the effects of adaptive management on tree stability via the dimensions of the soil-root plates.

Keywords: Betula pendula; silver birch; soil–root plate; static tree-pulling; windthrow.