Analysis of Individual Tree Competition on Diameter Growth of Silver Birch in Estonia

Kobra Maleki, Andres Kiviste, Henn Korjus


Aim of study: The present study evaluates a set of competition indices including spatially explicit indices combined with different competitor selection approaches and non-spatially explicit competition indices. The aim was to quantify and describe the neighbouring effects on the tree diameter growth of silver birch trees.

Area of study: Region throughout Estonia.

Material and methods: Data from the Estonian Network of Forest Research Plots was used. After quantifying the selected indices, the best non-spatial indices and spatial indices (combined with neighbour selection methods) were separately devised into a growth model as a predictor variable to assess the ability of the diameter growth model before and after adding competition measures. To test the species-specific effect on the competition level, the superior indices were recalculated using Ellenberg’s light indicators and incorporated into the diameter growth model.

Main results: Statistical analyses showed that the diameter growth is a function of neighbourhood interactions and spatial indices were better growth predictors than non-spatial indices. In addition, the best selections of competitive neighbours were acquired based on the influence zone and the competition elimination angle concepts, and using Ellenberg’s light values had no significant improvement in quantifying the competition effects.

Research highlights: Although the best ranking spatial competition measures were superior to the best non-spatial indices, the differences were negligible.

Keywords: Competition indices; zone of influence; stem diameter increment; Betula pendula Roth.



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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015242-05742