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Projecting Diameter Growth in Tropical Trees: A New Modeling Approach

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An important and heretofore unresolved challenge in forestry has been how to project long-term tree growth (i.e., decades to hundreds of years) from short-term measurements (here 1 year) for trees that do not present annual growth rings in their trunk wood. Such a method is crucial in the lowland tropics, where few long-term growth measurements have been taken, and where frequently trees lack reliable annual growth rings because of the lack of winters or highly seasonal dry periods. The new piecewise linear (PL) growth model, developed in this article, relates logarithmic relative growth to trunk diameter. Having obtained the coefficients from piecewise linear regression, the long-term age-diameter curve is calculated, i.e., the expected average growth curve of a statistical population of individual trees. The model is applied to the following five tree species without annual growth rings from the tropical rainforest in Los Tuxtlas (Veracruz, Mexico): Aspidosperma megalocarpon, Cordia alliodora, Dialium guianense, Guarea grandifolia, and Persea schiedeana. Using the tools of multiple linear regression, the PL model is highly flexible to derive sigmoid, exponential, and over-exponential growth separately for different diameter segments. FOR. SCI. 50(2):213–224.

Keywords: Bootstrap; environmental management; exponential integral; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; multiple linear regression with fixed intercept; natural resource management; natural resources; piecewise linear regression carried out as multiple linear regression

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Estación de Biología Tropical “Los Tuxtlas” Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Apartado postal 94 San Andrés Tuxtla Veracruz Mexico 95701 Phone: 52-29494-26623, Email: 2: Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas (IIMAS) UNAM Apartado postal 20-726, Administración 20, Delegación Álvaro Obregón México D.F. Mexico 01000 Phone: 52-55-5622-3595, Email:

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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