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Analyzing the Spread of Beech Canker

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Abstract:

We investigate the spread of Nectria canker of beech, which is a fungal chronic disease caused by Nectria ditissima Tul. et C. Tul. Data are available from a beech provenance trial. A possible influential factor on the proportion of infected trees per plot is the wind dispersal zone(s) (wdz), a categorical variable describing the distance and wind direction from diseased shelterwood, the source of infection. We investigate the effect of wdz and whether the disease incidence in the regeneration can be explained alone by the wdz using different approaches accounting for spatial correlation in the data. One method uses generalized estimating equations (GEE) where, through specification of a general variance–covariance matrix allowing for nonindependence, spatial correlation can be accounted for in the model. The second method uses generalized additive models (GAM) and the spatial autocorrelation is dealt with by modeling it as a spatial trend. The third method uses generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) with a random effect accounting for spatial correlation and heterogeneity. We show that, in the beech data, some spatial correlation is present that is over and above that accounted for by the wdz. Therefore, methods not accounting for this correlation are inappropriate. The GLMM is the most appropriate model because it manages to model the biological process best: It explains the variation in disease incidence by the wdz and by secondary infection. Hence it yields the most precise estimates. FOR. SCI. 51(5):438–448.

Keywords: Nectria ditissima; beech canker; binomial data; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; generalized additive model; generalized linear mixed model; generalized linear model; natural resource management; natural resources; spatial correlation

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Freiburg Centre for Data Analysis and Modeling University of Freiburg Eckerstrasse 1 Freiburg Germany D-79104 Current address: Department of Statistics The University of Glasgow Glasgow UK Phone: +44-141-330-6954;G12 8QQ, Fax: +44-141-330-4814, Email: nicole@stats.gla.ac.uk 2: Forest Research Centre Baden-Württemberg Wonnhaldestrasse 4 Freiburg/Br. Germany D-79100 Phone: +49-761-4018-1, Email: Edgar.Kublin@forst.bwl.de 3: Forest Research Centre Baden-Württemberg Wonnhaldestrasse 4 Freiburg/Br. Germany D-79100 Phone: +49-761-4018-1, Email: Berthold.Metzler@forst.bwl.de 4: Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products Sieker Landstrasse 2 Grosshansdorf Germany D-22927 Phone: +49 (0) 4102 696 106, Email: wuehlish@holz.uni-hamburg.de

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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