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Synthesis: Growth Models for Tropical Forests: A Synthesis of Models and Methods

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Tropical forests may have many species, indeterminate ages, and a wide range of growth habits and stem sizes and thus require special modeling techniques. But technique contributes only part of model quality, and much depends on the calibration data and access to the model. Whole stand models have limited utility in these forests, as it is hard to describe the forest adequately with few stand-level variables. Stand table projection and matrix models may be useful where summarized data are available and computer resources are limited, but the many classes required detract from the method. Tree list models offer greater flexibility, enable projections under a wide range of conditions, and provide diverse information. All growth equations should ensure reliable predictions over all tree sizes, sites, and stand conditions. Mortality may be modeled with logistic functions fitted to individual tree data. Two-stage recruitment models are a practical way to predict regeneration where there are many species. Several existing models could be calibrated for tropical rainforests if suitable data were available. Sustainable use of rainforests may depend on maintaining nutrient cycles and ecosystem linkages, and new data and innovative models will be necessary to fully appraise these aspects. For. Sci. 41(1):7-42.

Keywords: Rainforest; forecast; simulation; sustainable use; sustained yield; yield prediction

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor of Tropical Forestry, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark

Publication date: February 1, 1995

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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