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Estimating site productivity in irregular stand structures by indexing the basal area or volume increment of the dominant species

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Estimating site productivity in irregular structures is complicated by variations in stand density, structure, composition in mixed stands, and suppression experienced by subordinate trees. Our objective was to develop an alternate to site index (SI) and demonstrate its application in models of individual-tree and stand growth. We analyzed coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (Lamb. ex D. Don) Endl.) tree and stand growth in a grid of 234 permanent sample plots covering a 110 ha study area in north coastal California. Partial harvesting created a mosaic of densities and openings throughout the 60-year-old redwood-dominated forest. Redwood SI was a poor predictor of volume increment (VI) per hectare among redwood in each plot over two decades after harvest. A new index of redwood basal area increment (BAI) productivity, calculated using inventory data for all stems in even-aged stands and the oldest cohort of multiaged stands, was a stronger predictor of VI. Diameter increment of individual redwood trees correlated strongly with stand density and the new BAI index. Forest managers should expect widely divergent responses following partial harvesting in crowded even-aged stands, with the greatest response coming from dominant redwoods with long crowns retained in areas with low residual stand density and high BAI index.

Keywords: Sequoia sempervirens; aménagement inéquienne; Sequoia sempervirens; croissance des arbres; forest productivity; indice de qualité de station; multiaged management; productivité de la forêt; réaction à l’éclaircie; site index; sylviculture inéquienne; thinning response; tree growth; uneven-aged silviculture

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources, Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA 95521, USA. 2: Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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