Research output

Patterns of mast fruiting of common beech, sessile and common oak, Norway spruce and Scots pine in Central and Northern Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


  • Anita Nussbaumer
  • Peter Waldner
  • Sophia Etzold
  • Arthur Gessler
  • Sue Benham
  • Iben Margrete Thomsen
  • Bruno Bilde Jorgensen
  • Volkmar Timmermann
  • Pasi Rautio
  • Liisa Ukonmaanaho
  • Mitja Skudnik
  • Vladislav Apuhtin
  • Sabine Braun
  • Alexandra Wauer

External Organisations

  • WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
  • Forest Research
  • Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen
  • Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
  • Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)
  • Department of Forest and Landscape Planning and Monitoring, Slovenian Forestry Institute
  • Estonian Environment Agency
  • Institute for Applied Plant Biology (IAP)
  • Bayrische Landesanstalt für Wald und Forstwirtschaft


Original languageEnglish
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Pages (from-to)237-251
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2016


Occurrence of mast years, i.e. the synchronous production of vast amounts of fruits or seeds, has an important impact on forest ecosystems, their functioning and their services. We investigated the mast patterns of the forest tree species common beech, common and sessile oak, Norway spruce and Scots pine in Central and Northern Europe over the last two to three decades. We analysed data from the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests) and additional Danish, German, Flemish and Swiss datasets.
Within-plot synchrony of fructification intensity in individual trees was high in beech and spruce and lower in oak species and pine. Mast frequency increased in most regions for beech, whereas the other species showed mixed or no trends. Beech, oak species and spruce showed strong mast year (MY) synchrony, but pine did not. MY synchrony between species was only significant in Bavaria, in
Switzerland and between beech, oak species and spruce in Denmark. The deciduous species showed bimodal normal masting, while the conifers had switching normal masting. Oak species and the conifers supported the large seed and the accessory costs hypotheses, and beech and spruce supported the economy of scale, predator satiation and resource allocation hypotheses.
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