Dongyuan Tian, Pei He, Lichun Jiang, Damodar Gaire

Developing crown width model for mixed forests using soil, climate and stand factors

  • Plant Science
  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Abstract The tree crown is a useful measure of tree vigour and is highly relevant to a tree's environmental adaptability. Crown allometry depends on environmental and stand conditions. Several studies have focussed on the effects of climate change and competitive intensity on the crown, but the regulatory role of soil resources and diversity on crown allometry and carbon allocation has been neglected. Data from 20,994 trees in 232 mixed forests collected between 2011 and 2019 were located near four major mountain ranges in northeast China. The proposed crown width model includes the stand developmental stage, soil, climate, competition intensity, species mixture, species diversity, structural diversity and their interactions. We observed that the cross‐species allometric scaling exponent does not conform to the universal scaling law. Our results showed that crown width increased with increasing soil bulk density, quadratic mean diameter and coefficient of diameter variation but decreased with increasing de Martonne aridity index, basal area, Simpson index and species mixture. The interaction between quadratic mean diameter and soil bulk density had a significant negative effect on crown width. The influence of a particular factor within the interaction term on crown width was modulated by the gradients of other factors. Furthermore, soil bulk density contributed more to crown width modelling than the aridity index, and structural diversity had a greater effect on crown width than species diversity. Synthesis. Our results provide new insights into the environmental variability of crown allometry in mixed forests under global change, which is critical for improving regional and global estimates of forest biomass and carbon stocks.

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