Crown Condition and Growth Relationships within Stands of Picea abies
Relationships within stands between growth and crown condition are presented. The data set contained about 25 000 trees on 500 plots. Growth of single trees was determined by diameter measurements in 1991 and 1996. Diameter increments were recalculated to relative values in two steps; firstly relative to their stem diameter, and secondly relative to reference values for trees in the same plot, having no defoliation or no discoloration. These relative increment values, or growth indices, were distributed on a scale common for all plots, rendering them influenced neither by site and stand properties, nor by social status of each tree. The correlation between crown condition and growth, although of moderate strength, did validate crown condition assessments as a meaningful, but rough measure of forest health or vigour. The relationships were concave, and considerable growth depressions were already found at slight levels of defoliation and discoloration. Growth approached zero as defoliation and discoloration increased towards 100%. These relationships applied for all plots, regardless of their site productivity, development stage or regeneration method.