Evaluation of Competition Indices in Individual Tree Growth Models
In this paper we explore how well distance-independent competition measures explain variation in the height and diameter squared growth of individual conifer trees. We investigated a number of stand-level density indices and individual tree competition indices which incorporate tree sizes, but do not include location. We model growth of individual trees as potential growth reduced by competition. The reduction in mean square error relative to no competition index was used to judge performance of each competition index which varies by species and growth component (height or diameter squared growth). Results are summarized by species and type of competition index. The distance-independent measures are also compared to selected distance-dependent measures shown in recent research work to perform well for conifer species. It was found that a new class of distance-independent indices that includes estimated crown parameters performs on par with the best distance-dependent competition indices when used in conjunction with models of individual tree height and diameter squared growth. For. Sci. 41(2):360-377.
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