Thinning efects on the tree height-diameter allometry of Masson pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.)

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


The stem height–diameter allometric relationship is fundamental in determining forest and ecosystem structures as well as in estimating tree volume, biomass, and carbon stocks. Understanding the effects of silvicultural practices on tree height–diameter allometry is necessary for sustainable forest management, though the impact of measures such as thinning on the allometric relationship remain understudied. In the present study, the effects of thinning on tree height–diameter allometry were evaluated using Masson pine height and diameter growth data from a plantation experiment that included unthinned and thinned treatments with different intensities. To determine whether thinning altered the height–diameter allometry rhythm, the optimal height–diameter model was identified and dummy variable methods were used to investigate the differences among model parameters for different thinning treatments. Periodic (annual) allometric coefficients were calculated based on height and diameter increment data and were modeled using the generalized additive mixed model (GAMM) to further illustrate the response of tree height–diameter allometry to different thinning treatments over time. Significant differences were detected among the parameters of the optimal height–diameter model (power function) for different thinning treatments, which indicated that the pattern of the height–diameter allometry relationship of Masson pine was indeed altered by thinning treatments. Results also indicated a nonlinear trend in the allometric relationship through time which was significantly affected by thinning. The height–diameter allometric coefficient exhibited a unimodal convex bell curve with time in unthinned plots, and thinning significantly interfered with the original trend of the height–diameter allometric coefficient. Thinning caused trees to increase diameter growth at the expense of height growth, resulting in a decrease of the ratio of tree height to diameter, and this trend was more obvious as the thinning intensity increased.

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