A review of growth and stand dynamics of Acer pseudoplatanus L. in Europe: implications for silviculture
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) is a widespread but minor species throughout Europe though there is a growing interest in using it more because of its potentially high economic and ecological values. Silvicultural recommendations for exploiting sycamore's full potential should aim at producing a maximum of about 750–1000 m3 ha-1 of high-quality timber on the best sites (depending upon region), on short rotations (c. 70–75 years). About 11–12 m of clear bole should be achievable. This can be achieved in a number of ways including the creation of mixed-species and structurally diverse stands that will simultaneously increase ecological values. This review synthesizes existing knowledge on the growth and development of sycamore that may be used as a basis for developing silvicultural recommendations. Sycamore regenerates easily, although competing ground vegetation, damage by browsers and bark stripping by grey squirrels can reduce the amounts of valuable timber. Existing yield models show that it grows rapidly for the first 20–25 years and then slows considerably. Because of its relative scarcity and the fact that it seldom grows in pure stands, there has been limited interest in the species for growth model development and this has restricted its inclusion in forest growth simulators. This review shows that there is currently a lack of detailed knowledge about the responses of sycamore to various environmental, ecological and silvicultural factors and this hinders the understanding and management of this valuable broadleaved tree.