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Spatial Continuity of Tree Attributes in Bottomland Hardwood Forests in the Southeastern United States

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Sustainable forest management and conservation require understanding of underlying basic structural and competitive relationships. To gain insight into these relationships, we analyzed spatial continuity of tree basal area (BA) and crown projection area (CPA) on twelve 0.64-ha plots in four mixed bottomland hardwood stands in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Variogram range indicated that BA spatial continuity of trees with dbh > 10.0 cm extended an average 4.5 m. This distance equaled the quadratic mean crown radius (QMCR) of the overstory trees. Overall, 95% of the variability in BA was accounted for by the spatially structured variance and could be modeled as spatial dependence. Removal of suppressed trees from the analyses reduced the variability in BA at small separation distances and increased the variogram range. The average spatial continuity of unsuppressed trees averaged 18.2 m and was 17.6, 18.5, and 18.5 m based on the BA variograms, CPA variograms, and cross-variograms, respectively. This distance corresponded to four times the QMCR of the overstory trees and extended far enough to encompass the first- and second-order neighbors. The results suggest an existence of complex competitive influences and confirm findings in nonwoody vegetation that competitive effects can propagate beyond the direct neighbors. FOR. SCI. 51(6):532–540.

Keywords: Spatial dependence; cross-variogram; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; geostatistics; natural resource management; natural resources; variogram

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Renewable Natural Resources Louisiana State University AgCenter Baton Rouge LA 70803, Fax: 225-578-4227, Email: 2: School of Renewable Natural Resources Louisiana State University AgCenter Baton Rouge LA 70803, Email: 3: Southern Research Station Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research USDA Forest Service PO Box 227 Stoneville MS 38776, Email:

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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