In 1982, several rectangular openings were cut in a 100 year old sub-alpine Norway spruce forest stand to initiate regeneration at the Lusiwald site at Davos, Switzerland. The openings on the steep, north-facing slope created rapid changes to the environment of the border trees. Growth reactions of these border trees were compared and analysed with reference trees from the adjacent closed canopy stand in 1997. The radial growth pattern of the two data sets differed within the 14-year period since the openings were cut; the border trees showed growth releases. The growth reaction at the stem base was larger than at breast height. Changes in wind exposure may have influenced border trees to adapt their root systems. Sub-alpine Norway spruce stands aged around 100 years, which are usually considered slow-growing on a north aspect, still seem capable of reacting to greater resource availability such as sudden light changes.
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