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Species-Specific and Ontogeny-Related Stem Allometry of European Forest Trees: Evidence from Extensive Stem Analyses

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Constant allometric scaling as postulated by the metabolic scaling theory (MST) and the geometric scaling theory (GST) provides a promising synthesis for the functioning and structure of plants from organ to ecosystem level. Built on rather simple assumptions on individual structure and metabolism, both theories predict growth and morphology of trees albeit with different results. By analyzing tree stem allometry and comparing the results with general scaling rules our aim is to test and further develop allometric scaling theory. We base our analyses on 176 stem analyses each with up to 21 stem slices of dominant and codominant trees of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), aged 33‐275 years. The sampled trees come from several locations across the Southern German federal state of Bavaria. Analysis of the scaling relationships between trunk diameter, tree height, and tree volume shows a considerable intraspecific variability, an interspecies difference in tree allometry and prevailing deviation from theoretical scaling rules, and a size- and time-related change of allometry. We discuss the results with respect to scaling theory and draw conclusions about the relevance of our findings for theory development and application in practice.

Keywords: Euclidian geometric scaling; allometric growth; fractal scaling; metabolic theory of ecology; morphological plasticity

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-06-24

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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