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A Basal Area Increment Model for Individual Conifers in the Northern Rocky Mountains

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A basal area increment model is developed and evaluated for individual trees of 11 conifer species. This distance-independent model is applicable over much of the northern Rockies, an extensive region where stands have considerable variation in species composition, age structure, and past management. The model represents the diverse ecological requirements of the various species and responds appropriately across the observed range of predictor variables. Furthermore, it is well behaved even when used for conditions found in the region but not represented in the large calibration data set (44,086 trees). In addition, it possesses desirable statistical properties such as homogeneous residual variance, minimal multicollinearity, and linear parameters. The model is validated against independent data from two sources: a research study of young managed stands (2,881 trees) and a collection of long-term permanent research plots (6,594 trees). Predictions for small suppressed trees from the permanent plots are generally too large, but there are no significant relationships between residuals and other predictor variables in either data set. An unusual feature of the model is the intentional omission of site index and age, which is motivated by the large number of irregular stands in the region. Validation tests using the permanent research plots indicate, however, that residuals are not correlated with site index and age. Furthermore, long-term projections of stand attributes are unbiased. For. Sci. 36(4):1077-1104.

Keywords: Diameter increment; simulation; stand projection; tree-growth modeling

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Forester, Intermountain Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Moscow, ID 83843

Publication date: December 1, 1990

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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