Journal Article

Identifying ontogenetic, environmental and individual components of forest tree growth

Florence Chaubert-Pereira, Yves Caraglio, Christian Lavergne and Yann Guédon

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 104, issue 5, pages 883-896
Published in print October 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp189
Identifying ontogenetic, environmental and individual components of forest tree growth

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

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Background and Aims

This study aimed to identify and characterize the ontogenetic, environmental and individual components of forest tree growth. In the proposed approach, the tree growth data typically correspond to the retrospective measurement of annual shoot characteristics (e.g. length) along the trunk.

Methods

Dedicated statistical models (semi-Markov switching linear mixed models) were applied to data sets of Corsican pine and sessile oak. In the semi-Markov switching linear mixed models estimated from these data sets, the underlying semi-Markov chain represents both the succession of growth phases and their lengths, while the linear mixed models represent both the influence of climatic factors and the inter-individual heterogeneity within each growth phase.

Key Results

On the basis of these integrative statistical models, it is shown that growth phases are not only defined by average growth level but also by growth fluctuation amplitudes in response to climatic factors and inter-individual heterogeneity and that the individual tree status within the population may change between phases. Species plasticity affected the response to climatic factors while tree origin, sampling strategy and silvicultural interventions impacted inter-individual heterogeneity.

Conclusions

The transposition of the proposed integrative statistical modelling approach to cambial growth in relation to climatic factors and the study of the relationship between apical growth and cambial growth constitute the next steps in this research.

Keywords: Growth components; inter-individual heterogeneity; linear mixed model; ontogeny; Pinus nigra subsp. laricio var. corsicana; Quercus petraea; semi-Markov switching model

Journal Article.  9406 words.  Illustrated.

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

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