Spatial Characteristics of Tree Diameter Distributions in a Temperate Old-Growth Forest

Abstract

This contribution identifies spatial characteristics of tree diameter in a temperate forest in north-eastern China, based on a fully censused observational study area covering 500×600 m. Mark correlation analysis with three null hypothesis models was used to determine departure from expectations at different neighborhood distances. Tree positions are clumped at all investigated scales in all 37 studied species, while the diameters of most species are spatially negatively correlated, especially at short distances. Interestingly, all three cases showing short-distance attraction of dbh marks are associated with light-demanding shrub species. The short-distance attraction of dbh marks indicates spatially aggregated cohorts of stems of similar size. The percentage of species showing significant dbh suppression peaked at a 4 m distance under the heterogeneous Poisson model. At scales exceeding the peak distance, the percentage of species showing significant dbh suppression decreases sharply with increasing distances. The evidence from this large observational study shows that some of the variation of the spatial characteristics of tree diameters is related variations of topography and soil chemistry. However, an obvious interpretation of this result is still lacking. Thus, removing competitors surrounding the target trees is an effective way to avoid neighboring competition effects reducing the growth of valuable target trees in forest management practice.

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