Journal Article

Inequality of Size and Size Increment in <i>Pinus banksiana</i> in Relation to Stand Dynamics and Annual Growth Rate

Juha M. Metsaranta and Victor J. Lieffers

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 4, pages 561-571
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Inequality of Size and Size Increment in Pinus banksiana in Relation to Stand Dynamics and Annual Growth Rate

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Changes in size inequality in tree populations are often attributed to changes in the mode of competition over time. The mode of competition may also fluctuate annually in response to variation in growing conditions. Factors causing growth rate to vary can also influence competition processes, and thus influence how size hierarchies develop.


Detailed data obtained by tree-ring reconstruction were used to study annual changes in size and size increment inequality in several even-aged, fire-origin jack pine (Pinus banksiana) stands in the boreal shield and boreal plains ecozones in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada, by using the Gini and Lorenz asymmetry coefficients.

Key Results

The inequality of size was related to variables reflecting long-term stand dynamics (e.g. stand density, mean tree size and average competition, as quantified using a distance-weighted absolute size index). The inequality of size increment was greater and more variable than the inequality of size. Inequality of size increment was significantly related to annual growth rate at the stand level, and was higher when growth rate was low. Inequality of size increment was usually due primarily to large numbers of trees with low growth rates, except during years with low growth rate when it was often due to small numbers of trees with high growth rates. The amount of competition to which individual trees were subject was not strongly related to the inequality of size increment.


Differences in growth rate among trees during years of poor growth may form the basis for development of size hierarchies on which asymmetric competition can act. A complete understanding of the dynamics of these forests requires further evaluation of the way in which factors that influence variation in annual growth rate also affect the mode of competition and the development of size hierarchies.

Keywords: Annual growth rate; asymmetric competition; competition index; dendroecology; Gini coefficient; jack pine; Lorenz asymmetry coefficient; volume increment

Journal Article.  6720 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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