Effects of structural heterogeneity on the diurnal temperature range in temperate forest ecosystems

Ehbrecht, Martin; Schall, Peter; Ammer, Christian; Fischer, Markus; Seidel, Dominik (2019). Effects of structural heterogeneity on the diurnal temperature range in temperate forest ecosystems. Forest Ecology and Management, 432, pp. 860-867. Elsevier 10.1016/j.foreco.2018.10.008

[img] Text
2018_ForestEcolManag_432_860.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy

The microclimate in forest ecosystems can be altered by modifications of stand structure due to forest management or natural forest development. Current forest management practices in Central Europe and North America aim to promote structural heterogeneity and maintain forest canopy cover, which is known to be a major driver of forest microclimate. Here, we investigated the impacts of forest management and structural heterogeneity on the diurnal temperature range (DTR) in 128 managed forest stands in three climatically different locations (Swabian Alb, Hainich-Dün and Schorfheide-Chorin) in Central Europe. Increasing structural heterogeneity by promoting tree size diversity and differentiation increased vertical stratification and resulted in an impaired DTR during the vegetation period. Linear regression models with geographic location, elevation above sea level, canopy openness and measures of structural heterogeneity as explanatory variables explained 79.4–80.9% of variance in DTR. However, the overall effect of structural heterogeneity on DTR was small. Differences in DTR between plots of different main tree species could be attributed to differences in canopy openness and light transmission, whereas tree species diversity had no significant effect on DTR. Unmanaged forests were characterized by a significantly lower DTR than managed, even-aged forests. DTR in uneven-aged stands managed under single tree selection was comparable to unmanaged stands. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) derived measures of canopy openness and vertical structure allowed to explain 79.4% of variance in DTR considering geographic location and elevation, which can also be assessed by TLS with integrated GPS and an altimeter. We conclude that structural characteristics of forest stands other than canopy openness contribute marginally to variation in forest microclimate. However, the analyses of structure-microclimate analyses indicate that effects of stand structure on DTR might be more pronounced in regions with low precipitation during the vegetation period.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Markus


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2018 15:32

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:18

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

forest structure; microclimate; forest management; TLS





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback