Introducing tree interactions in wind damage simulations

M.J. Schelhaas, K. Kramer, H. Peltola, D.C. van der Werf, S.M.J. Wijdeven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Wind throw is an important risk factor in forest management in North-western Europe. In recent years, mechanistic models have been developed to estimate critical wind speeds needed to break or uproot the average tree of a forest stand. Based on these models, we developed a wind damage module for the individual tree model ForGEM (Forest Genetics, Ecology and Management). For a given wind speed this module assesses the forces on each individual tree, based on the tree dimensions, and support and sheltering provided by other trees. Due to this individual approach, irregular stands can also be assessed. The module is demonstrated on Douglas fir stands (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) of different densities in the Netherlands. Patterns of damage are explained, both in freshly exposed stands as well as in sheltered stands. Wind speeds needed to cause damage approximated those of known wind throw events. The wind damage module proved to be very sensitive to simulated tree heights and diameters. Furthermore, the newly introduced support mechanism played an important role in the stability of trees and stands. Lower individual tree stability in dense stands was clearly compensated for by the support of other trees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • pinus-pinaster ait.
  • forest stands
  • scots pine
  • mechanical stability
  • tunnel measurements
  • drag relationships
  • field-measurements
  • individual-tree
  • norway spruce
  • models


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