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Basal Area Growth and Crown Closure in a Loblolly Pine Spacing Trial

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Data collected after each of the first 13 yr since planting of a loblolly pine spacing trial were used to study relationships between basal area growth and crown closure. Crown closure and crown competition factor at the inflection age of cumulative basal area growth were examined on 192 plots of varying initial density and rectangularity at four sites in the Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Inflection age increased with initial growing space, but at a decreasing rate, presumably approaching some maximum value that would be realized in the absence of all competition. The inflection generally occurred earlier on study sites with the highest site index values, but exceptions to this trend were observed. The degree of crown closure at the inflection age increased with planting density, but did not depend in a meaningful way on the site index of the study sites. Crown competition factor at the inflection age increased with planting density, but also increased with site index. Rectangularity did not significantly affect the inflection age, but it did reduce the level of crown closure at that age. A test for the effect of rectangularity on crown competition factor was inconclusive. For. Sci. 45(1):35-44.
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Keywords: Pinus taeda; canopy closure; crown competition factor; crown dynamics; rectangularity

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Forest Biometrics and Head, Department of Forestry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-3324--Phone: (540) 231-5483;, Fax: (540) 231-3698

Publication date: 1999-02-01

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    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.
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