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1.  Size Structure of Current‐year Shoots in Mature Crowns 
Annals of Botany  2003;92(3):339-347.
Characteristics of current‐year shoot populations were examined for three mature trees of each of three deciduous broad‐leaved species. For first‐order branches (branches emerging from the vertical trunk) of the trees examined, lengths or diameters of all current‐year shoots were measured. Total leaf mass and total current‐year stem mass of first‐order branches were estimated using an allometric relationship between leaf or stem mass and length or diameter of current‐year stems. For each tree, the number of current‐year shoots on a first‐order branch was proportional to the basal stem cross‐sectional area of the branch. On the other hand, first‐order branches had shoot populations with size structures similar to each other. As a result, the leaf mass of a first‐order branch was proportional to the basal stem cross‐sectional area of the branch, being compatible with the pipe‐model relationship. All current‐year shoot populations had positively skewed size structures. Because small shoots have a larger ratio of leaf mass to stem mass than large shoots, first‐order branches had an extremely large ratio of leaf mass to current‐year stem mass. This biased mass allocation will reduce costs for current stem production, respiration and future radial growth, and is beneficial to mature trees with a huge accumulation of non‐ photosynthetic organs. The allometric relationships between leaf mass and basal stem diameter and that between leaf mass and current‐year stem mass of first‐order branches were each similar across the trees examined. Characteristics of shoot populations tended to offset inter‐species diversity of shoot allometry so that branch allometry shows inter‐species convergence.
PMCID: PMC4257506  PMID: 12853280
Allometry; Acer mono var. mayrii (Schwer.) Koidz.; Betula maximowicziana Regel; biomass allocation; current‐year shoot population; deciduous broad‐leaved trees; first‐order branch; mature crown; shoot size structure; pipe‐model relationship; Quercus crispula Brume.
2.  Responses of Crown Development to Canopy Openings by Saplings of Eight Tropical Submontane Forest Tree Species in Indonesia: A Comparison with Cool-temperate Trees 
Annals of Botany  2006;97(4):559-569.
• Background and Aims Growth in trunk height in canopy openings is important for saplings. How saplings increase height growth in canopy openings may relate to crown architectural constraints. Responses of crown development to canopy openings in relation to trunk height growth were studied for saplings (0·2–2·5 m tall) of eight tropical submontane forest tree species in Indonesia. The results of this study were also compared with those of temperate trees in northern Japan.
• Methods The crown architecture differed among the eight tropical species, i.e. they had sparsely to highly developed branching structures. Crown allometry was compared among the eight species in each canopy condition (closed canopy or canopy openings), and between closed canopy and canopy openings within a species. A general linear regression model was used to analyse how each species increases height growth rate in canopy openings. Crown allometry and its plasticity were compared between tropical and temperate trees by a nested analysis of covariance.
• Key Results Tropical submontane trees had responses similar to cool-temperate trees, showing an increase in height in canopy openings, i.e. taller saplings of sparsely branched species increase height growth rates by increasing the sapling leaf area. Cool-temperate trees have a wider crown projection area and a smaller leaf area per crown projection area to avoid self-shading within a crown compared with tropical submontane trees. Plasticity of the crown projection area is greater in cool-temperate trees than in tropical submontane trees, probably because of the difference in leaf longevity.
• Conclusions This study concluded that interspecific variation in the responses of crown development to canopy openings in regard to increasing height related to the species' branching structure, and that different life-forms, such as evergreen and deciduous trees, had different crown allometry and plasticity.
PMCID: PMC2803653  PMID: 16399792
Cool-temperate trees; crown allometry; crown architecture; height growth; Indonesia; saplings; plasticity; tropical trees
3.  Applicability of non-destructive substitutes for leaf area in different stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) focusing on traditional forest crown measures 
Forest Ecology and Management  2010;260(9):1498-1506.
Research highlights
▶ Determination of individual tree leaf area usually is only possible destructively. ▶ Surrogates which can be assessed non-destructively are investigated. ▶ From about 150 trees leaf area is estimated by 3P-branch sampling. ▶ These estimates are best correlated with crown surface area. ▶ Equations to determine individual tree leaf area non-destructively are presented.
Since individual tree leaf area is an important measure for productivity as well as for site occupancy, it is of high interest in many studies about forest growth. The exact determination of leaf area is nearly impossible. Thus, a common way to get information about leaf area is to use substitutes. These substitutes are often variables which are collected in a destructive way which is not feasible for long term studies. Therefore, this study aimed at testing the applicability of using substitutes for leaf area which could be collected in a non-destructive way, namely crown surface area and crown projection area. In 8 stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.), divided into three age classes and two thinning treatments, a total of 156 trees were felled in order to test the relationship between leaf area and crown surface area and crown projection area, respectively. Individual tree leaf area of the felled sample trees was estimated by 3P-branch sampling with an accuracy of ±10%. Crown projection area and crown surface area were compared with other, more commonly used, but destructive predictors of leaf area, namely sapwood area at different heights on the bole. Our investigations confirmed findings of several studies that sapwood area is the most precise measure for leaf area because of the high correlation between sapwood area and the leaf area. But behind sapwood area at crown base and sapwood area at three tenth of the tree height the predictive ability of crown surface area was ranked third and even better than that of sapwood area at breast height (R2 = 0.656 compared with 0.600). Within the stands leaf area is proportional to crown surface area. Using the pooled data of all stands a mixed model approach showed that additionally to crown surface area dominant height and diameter at breast height (dbh) improved the leaf area estimates. Thus, taking dominant height and dbh into account, crown surface area can be recommended for estimating the leaf area of individual trees. The resulting model was in line with many other findings on the leaf area and leaf mass relationships with crown size. From the additional influence of dominant height and dbh in the leaf area model we conclude that the used crown model could be improved by estimating the position of the maximum crown width and the crown width at the base of the crown depending on these two variables.
PMCID: PMC2954308  PMID: 21072126
Norway spruce; Leaf area; Crown projection area; Crown surface area; Age; Thinning treatment
4.  Variation in Crown Light Utilization Characteristics among Tropical Canopy Trees 
Annals of Botany  2004;95(3):535-547.
• Background and Aims Light extinction through crowns of canopy trees determines light availability at lower levels within forests. The goal of this paper is the exploration of foliage distribution and light extinction in crowns of five canopy tree species in relation to their shoot architecture, leaf traits (mean leaf angle, life span, photosynthetic characteristics) and successional status (from pioneers to persistent).
• Methods Light extinction was examined at three hierarchical levels of foliage organization, the whole crown, the outermost canopy and the individual shoots, in a tropical moist forest with direct canopy access with a tower crane. Photon flux density and cumulative leaf area index (LAI) were measured at intervals of 0·25–1 m along multiple vertical transects through three to five mature tree crowns of each species to estimate light extinction coefficients (K).
• Results Cecropia longipes, a pioneer species with the shortest leaf life span, had crown LAI <0·5. Among the remaining four species, crown LAI ranged from 2 to 8, and species with orthotropic terminal shoots exhibited lower light extinction coefficients (0·35) than those with plagiotropic shoots (0·53–0·80). Within each type, later successional species exhibited greater maximum LAI and total light extinction. A dense layer of leaves at the outermost crown of a late successional species resulted in an average light extinction of 61 % within 0·5 m from the surface. In late successional species, leaf position within individual shoots does not predict the light availability at the individual leaf surface, which may explain their slow decline of photosynthetic capacity with leaf age and weak differentiation of sun and shade leaves.
• Conclusion Later-successional tree crowns, especially those with orthotropic branches, exhibit lower light extinction coefficients, but greater total LAI and total light extinction, which contribute to their efficient use of light and competitive dominance.
PMCID: PMC4246798  PMID: 15585541
Anacardium excelsum; Antirrhoea trichantha; architecture; Castilla elastica; Cecropia longipes; crown LAI; forest canopy; leaf angle; light extinction coefficient; Luehea seemannii; photosynthesis; tropical trees
5.  Responses of leaf structure and photosynthetic properties to intra-canopy light gradients: a common garden test with four broadleaf deciduous angiosperm and seven evergreen conifer tree species 
Oecologia  2012;170(1):11-24.
Spectra of leaf traits in northern temperate forest canopies reflect major differences in leaf longevity between evergreen conifers and deciduous broadleaf angiosperms, as well as plastic modifications caused by within-crown shading. We investigated (1) whether long-lived conifer leaves exhibit similar intra-canopy plasticity as short-lived broadleaves, and (2) whether global interspecific relationships between photosynthesis, nitrogen, and leaf structure identified for sun leaves adequately describe leaves differentiated in response to light gradients. We studied structural and photosynthetic properties of intra-tree sun and shade foliage in adult trees of seven conifer and four broadleaf angiosperm species in a common garden in Poland. Shade leaves exhibited lower leaf mass-per-area (LMA) than sun leaves; however, the relative difference was smaller in conifers than in broadleaves. In broadleaves, LMA was correlated with lamina thickness and tissue density, while in conifers, it was correlated with thickness but not density. In broadleaves, but not in conifers, reduction of lamina thickness was correlated with a thinner palisade layer. The more conservative adjustment of conifer leaves could result from a combination of phylogenetic constraints, contrasting leaf anatomies and shoot geometries, but also from functional requirements of long-lived foliage. Mass-based nitrogen concentration (Nmass) was similar between sun and shade leaves, and was lower in conifers than in deciduous broadleaved species. Given this, the smaller LMA in shade corresponded with a lower area-based N concentration (Narea). In evergreen conifers, LMA and Narea were less powerful predictors of area-based photosynthetic rate (Amax(area)) in comparison with deciduous broadleaved angiosperms. Multiple regression for sun and shade leaves showed that, in each group, Amax(mass) was related to Nmass but not to LMA, whereas LMA became a significant codeterminant of Amax(mass) in analysis combining both groups. Thus, a fundamental mass-based relationship between photosynthesis, nitrogen, and leaf structure reported previously also exists in a dataset combining within-crown and across-functional type variation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2279-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3422461  PMID: 22349756
Plant functional types; Leaf plasticity; Shade acclimation; Evergreen leaves; Leaf mass-per-area
6.  Evidence of variant intra- and interspecific scaling of tree crown structure and relevance for allometric theory 
Oecologia  2012;169(3):637-649.
General scaling rules or constants for metabolic and structural plant allometry as assumed by the theory of Euclidian geometric scaling (2/3-scaling) or metabolic scaling (3/4-scaling) may meet human’s innate propensity for simplicity and generality of pattern and processes in nature. However, numerous empirical works show that variability of crown structure rather than constancy is essential for a tree’s success in coping with crowding. In order to link theory and empiricism, we analyzed the intra- and inter-specific scaling of crown structure for 52 tree species. The basis is data from 84 long-term plots of temperate monospecific forests under survey since 1870 and a set of 126 yield tables of angiosperm and gymnosperm forest tree species across the world. The study draws attention to (1) the intra-specific variation and correlation of the three scaling relationships: tree height versus trunk diameter, crown cross-sectional area versus trunk diameter, and tree volume versus trunk diameter, and their dependence on competition, (2) the inter-specific variation and correlation of the same scaling exponents (\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$ {\upalpha}_{h,d}, {\upalpha}_{{\text{csa,}}d} $$\end{document} and \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$ {{\upalpha}}_{v,d} $$\end{document}) across 52 tree species, and (3) the relevance of the revealed variable scaling of crown structure for leaf organs and metabolic scaling. Our results arrive at suggesting a more extended metabolic theory of ecology which includes variability and covariation between allometric relationships as prerequisite for the individual plant’s competitiveness.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2240-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3375085  PMID: 22237660
Structural allometry; Euclidian geometry; Metabolic scaling theory; Fractal dimension; Self-thinning
7.  Do individual-tree growth models correctly represent height:diameter ratios of Norway spruce and Scots pine? 
Forest Ecology and Management  2010;260(10):1735-1753.
Research highlights
▶ We examined four individual tree models in Europe: BWIN, Moses, Silva and Prognaus. ▶ We simulated growth of open-grown trees and on research plots for 15 or 30 years. ▶ Height:diameter ratios were correctly predicted by all four models. ▶ Height:diameter ratios were within the bounds of open grown trees and dense stands. ▶ They decreased with age and density; dominant trees had lower ratios than mean trees.
Height:diameter ratios are an important measure of stand stability. Because of the importance of height:diameter ratios for forest management, individual-tree growth models should correctly depict height:diameter ratios. In particular, (i) height:diameter ratios should not exceed that of very dense stands, (ii) height:diameter ratios should not fall below that of open-grown trees, (iii) height:diameter ratios should decrease with increasing spacing, (iv) height:diameter ratios for suppressed trees should be higher than ratios for dominant trees. We evaluated the prediction of height:diameter ratios by running four commonly used individual-tree growth models in central Europe: BWIN, Moses, Silva and Prognaus. They represent different subtypes of individual-tree growth models, namely models with and without an explicit growth potential and models that are either distance-dependent (spatial) or distance-independent (non-spatial). Note that none of these simulators predict height:diameter ratios directly. We began by building a generic simulator that contained the relevant equations for diameter increment, height increment, and crown size for each of the four simulators. The relevant measures of competition, site characteristics, and stand statistics were also coded. The advantage of this simulator was that it ensured that no additional constraint was being imposed on the growth equations, and that initial conditions were identical. We then simulated growth for a 15- and 30-year period for Austrian permanent research plots in Arnoldstein and in Litschau, which represent stands at different age-classes and densities. We also simulated growth of open-grown trees and compared the results to the literature. We found that the general pattern of height:diameter ratios was correctly predicted by all four individual-tree growth models, with height:diameter ratios above that of open-grown trees and below that of very dense stands. All models showed a decrease of height:diameter ratios with age and an increase with stand density. Also, the height:diameter ratios of dominant trees were always lower than that of mean trees. Although in some cases the observed and predicted height:diameter ratios matched well, there were cases where discrepancies between observed and predicted height:diameter ratios would be unacceptable for practical management predictions.
PMCID: PMC2987550  PMID: 21151352
Stand stability; Height:diameter ratio; Individual-tree growth model; Model evaluation; Open-grown trees
8.  Crown Plasticity and Competition for Canopy Space: A New Spatially Implicit Model Parameterized for 250 North American Tree Species 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(9):e870.
Canopy structure, which can be defined as the sum of the sizes, shapes and relative placements of the tree crowns in a forest stand, is central to all aspects of forest ecology. But there is no accepted method for deriving canopy structure from the sizes, species and biomechanical properties of the individual trees in a stand. Any such method must capture the fact that trees are highly plastic in their growth, forming tessellating crown shapes that fill all or most of the canopy space.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We introduce a new, simple and rapidly-implemented model–the Ideal Tree Distribution, ITD–with tree form (height allometry and crown shape), growth plasticity, and space-filling, at its core. The ITD predicts the canopy status (in or out of canopy), crown depth, and total and exposed crown area of the trees in a stand, given their species, sizes and potential crown shapes. We use maximum likelihood methods, in conjunction with data from over 100,000 trees taken from forests across the coterminous US, to estimate ITD model parameters for 250 North American tree species. With only two free parameters per species–one aggregate parameter to describe crown shape, and one parameter to set the so-called depth bias–the model captures between-species patterns in average canopy status, crown radius, and crown depth, and within-species means of these metrics vs stem diameter. The model also predicts much of the variation in these metrics for a tree of a given species and size, resulting solely from deterministic responses to variation in stand structure.
This new model, with parameters for US tree species, opens up new possibilities for understanding and modeling forest dynamics at local and regional scales, and may provide a new way to interpret remote sensing data of forest canopies, including LIDAR and aerial photography.
PMCID: PMC1964803  PMID: 17849000
9.  Annual and spatial variation in shoot demography associated with masting in Betula grossa: comparison between mature trees and saplings 
Annals of Botany  2009;104(6):1195-1205.
Backgrounds and Aims
Shoot demography affects the growth of the tree crown and the number of leaves on a tree. Masting may cause inter-annual and spatial variation in shoot demography of mature trees, which may in turn affect the resource budget of the tree. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of masting on the temporal and spatial variations in shoot demography of mature Betula grossa.
The shoot demography was analysed in the upper and lower parts of the tree crown in mature trees and saplings over 7 years. Mature trees and saplings were compared to differentiate the effect of masting from the effect of exogenous environment on shoot demography. The fate of different shoot types (reproductive, vegetative, short, long), shoot length and leaf area were investigated by monitoring and by retrospective survey using morphological markers on branches. The effects of year and branch position on demographic parameters were evaluated.
Key Results
Shoot increase rate, production of long shoots, bud mortality, length of long shoots and leaf area of a branch fluctuated periodically from year to year in mature trees over 7 years, in which two masting events occurred. Branches within a crown showed synchronized annual variation, and the extent of fluctuation was larger in the upper branches than the lower branches. Vegetative shoots varied in their bud differentiation each year and contributed to the dynamic shoot demography as much as did reproductive shoots, suggesting physiological integration in shoot demography through hormonal regulation and resource allocation.
Masting caused periodic annual variation in shoot demography of the mature trees and the effect was spatially variable within a tree crown. Since masting is a common phenomenon among tree species, annual variation in shoot demography and leaf area should be incorporated into resource allocation models of mature masting trees.
PMCID: PMC2766207  PMID: 19734164
Masting; shoot demography; short shoot; long shoot; temporal variation; spatial variation; leaf area; shoot length; resource allocation; Betula grossa
10.  Effect of light on the growth and photosynthesis of an invasive shrub in its native range 
AoB Plants  2014;6:plu033.
We studied the growth and photosynthetic capacity of Berberis darwinii shrub growing under different light conditions in their native area of Argentina to test if plant physiology differs from invaded area (using studies carried out in New Zealand). In its native range B. darwinii grows under different light conditions by adjusting shoot and leaf morphology and physiology. Plants of B. darwinii growing under the same light environments show similar physiology in native and invasive ranges. Therefore, intra-specific variations of the functional traits in native area do not condition successful invasiveness.
Invasive species' success may depend on ecophysiological attributes present in their native area or those derived from changes that took place in the invaded environment. We studied the growth and photosynthetic capacity of Berberis darwinii shrubs growing under different light conditions (gap, forest edge and below the canopy) in their native area of Patagonia, Argentina. Leaf photosynthesis results determined in the native area were discussed in relation to information provided by studies carried out under the same light conditions in an invaded area in New Zealand. Shoot elongation, leaf production, stem and leaf biomass per shoot, and specific leaf area (SLA, cm2 g−1) were determined in five adult plants, randomly selected in each of the three light conditions at two forest sites. Net photosynthesis as a function of PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density), stomatal conductance (gs), maximum light-saturated photosynthesis rate (Pmax), Pmass (on mass bases) and water-use efficiency (WUEi) were determined in plants of one site. We predicted that functional traits would differ between populations of native and invasive ranges. In their native area, plants growing under the canopy produced the longest shoots and had the lowest values for shoot emergence and foliar biomass per shoot, while their SLA was higher than gap and forest edge plants. Leaf number and stem biomass per shoot were independent of light differences. Leaves of gap plants showed higher Pmax, Pmass and gs but lower WUEi than plants growing at the forest edge. In its native range B. darwinii grows under different light conditions by adjusting shoot and leaf morphology and physiology. Plants of B. darwinii growing under the same light conditions show similar physiology in native and invasive ranges. This means that for B. darwinii, intra-specific variation of the functional traits studied here does not condition successful spread in new areas.
PMCID: PMC4240251  PMID: 24969502
Berberis darwinii; ecophysiological attributes; light environments; native and invasion area; plant invasion.
11.  Leaf area and light use efficiency patterns of Norway spruce under different thinning regimes and age classes 
► Absorbed light was only marginally superior to predict volume increment than leaf area. ► Larger trees were consistently more efficient than smaller trees. ► Thinning increased the efficiency of an average tree.
Silviculture focuses on establishing forest stand conditions that improve the stand increment. Knowledge about the efficiency of an individual tree is essential to be able to establish stand structures that increase tree resource use efficiency and stand level production. Efficiency is often expressed as stem growth per unit leaf area (leaf area efficiency), or per unit of light absorbed (light use efficiency). We tested the hypotheses that: (1) volume increment relates more closely with crown light absorption than leaf area, since one unit of leaf area can receive different amounts of light due to competition with neighboring trees and self-shading, (2) dominant trees use light more efficiently than suppressed trees and (3) thinning increases the efficiency of light use by residual trees, partially accounting for commonly observed increases in post-thinning growth. We investigated eight even-aged Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stands at Bärnkopf, Austria, spanning three age classes (mature, immature and pole-stage) and two thinning regimes (thinned and unthinned). Individual leaf area was calculated with allometric equations and absorbed photosynthetically active radiation was estimated for each tree using the three-dimensional crown model Maestra. Absorbed photosynthetically active radiation was only a slightly better predictor of volume increment than leaf area. Light use efficiency increased with increasing tree size in all stands, supporting the second hypothesis. At a given tree size, trees from the unthinned plots were more efficient, however, due to generally larger tree sizes in the thinned stands, an average tree from the thinned treatment was superior (not congruent in all plots, thus only partly supporting the third hypothesis).
PMCID: PMC4268600  PMID: 25540477
Picea abies; APAR; Maestra
12.  Relationships of tree height and diameter at breast height revisited: analyses of stem growth using 20-year data of an even-aged Chamaecyparis obtusa stand 
Tree Physiology  2013;33(1):106-118.
Stem diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree height (H) are commonly used measures of tree growth. We examined patterns of height growth and diameter growth along a stem using a 20-year record of an even-aged hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl.) stand. In the region of the stem below the crown (except for the butt swell), diameter growth rates (ΔD) at different heights tended to increase slightly from breast height upwards. This increasing trend was pronounced in suppressed trees, but not as much as the variation in ΔD among individual trees. Hence, ΔD below the crown can be regarded as generally being represented by the DBH growth rate (ΔDBH) of a tree. Accordingly, the growth rate of the stem cross-sectional area increased along the stem upwards in suppressed trees, but decreased in dominant trees. The stem diameter just below the crown base (DCB), the square of which is an index of the amount of leaves on a tree, was an important factor affecting ΔDBH. DCB also had a strong positive relationship with crown length. Hence, long-term changes in the DCB of a tree were associated with long-term changes in crown length, determined by the balance between the height growth rate (ΔH) and the rising rate of the crown base (ΔHCB). Within the crown, ΔD's were generally greater than the rates below the crown. Even dying trees (ΔD ≈ 0 below the crown) maintained ΔD > 0 within the crown and ΔH > 0 until about 5 years before death. This growth within the crown may be related to the need to produce new leaves to compensate for leaves lost owing to the longevity of the lower crown. These results explain the different time trajectories in DBH–H relationships among individual trees, and also the long-term changes in the DBH–H relationships. The view that a rise in the crown base is strongly related to leaf turnover helps to interpret DBH–H relationships.
PMCID: PMC3556985  PMID: 23303367
allometry; crown rise; linear mixed models; pipe model theory; stem form; stem taper
13.  Growth and posture control strategies in Fagus sylvatica and Acer pseudoplatanus saplings in response to canopy disturbance 
Annals of Botany  2011;107(8):1345-1353.
Background and Aims
Forest tree saplings that grow in the understorey undergo frequent changes in their light environment to which they must adapt to ensure their survival and growth. Crown architecture, which plays a critical role in light capture and mechanical stability, is a major component of sapling adaptation to canopy disturbance. Shade-adapted saplings typically have plagiotropic stems and branches. After canopy opening, they need to develop more erect shoots in order to exploit the new light conditions. The objective of this study was to test whether changes in sapling stem inclination occur after canopy opening, and to analyse the morphological changes associated with stem reorientation.
A 4-year canopy-opening field experiment with naturally regenerated Fagus sylvatica and Acer pseudoplatanus saplings was conducted. The appearance of new stem axes, stem basal diameter and inclination along the stem were recorded every year after canopy opening.
Key Results
Both species showed considerable stem reorientation resulting primarily from uprighting (more erect) shoot movements in Fagus, and from uprighting movements, shoot elongation and formation of relay shoots in Acer. In both species, the magnitude of shoot uprighting movements was primarily related to initial stem inclination. Both the basal part and the apical part of the stem contributed to uprighting movements. Stem movements did not appear to be limited by stem size or by stem growth.
Stem uprighting movements in shade-adapted Fagus and Acer saplings following canopy disturbance were considerable and rapid, suggesting that stem reorientation processes play a significant role in the growth strategy of the species.
PMCID: PMC3101137  PMID: 21444338
Advance regeneration; canopy gap; biomechanics; gravitropism; shade tolerance; Fagus sylvatica; Acer pseudoplatanus
14.  Root–shoot allometry of tropical forest trees determined in a large-scale aeroponic system 
Annals of Botany  2012;112(2):291-296.
Background and Aims
This study is a first step in a multi-stage project aimed at determining allometric relationships among the tropical tree organs, and carbon fluxes between the various tree parts and their environment. Information on canopy–root interrelationships is needed to improve understanding of above- and below-ground processes and for modelling of the regional and global carbon cycle. Allometric relationships between the sizes of different plant parts will be determined.
Two tropical forest species were used in this study: Ceiba pentandra (kapok), a fast-growing tree native to South and Central America and to Western Africa, and Khaya anthotheca (African mahogany), a slower-growing tree native to Central and Eastern Africa. Growth and allometric parameters of 12-month-old saplings grown in a large-scale aeroponic system and in 50-L soil containers were compared. The main advantage of growing plants in aeroponics is that their root systems are fully accessible throughout the plant life, and can be fully recovered for harvesting.
Key Results
The expected differences in shoot and root size between the fast-growing C. pentandra and the slower-growing K. anthotheca were evident in both growth systems. Roots were recovered from the aeroponically grown saplings only, and their distribution among various diameter classes followed the patterns expected from the literature. Stem, branch and leaf allometric parameters were similar for saplings of each species grown in the two systems.
The aeroponic tree growth system can be utilized for determining the basic allometric relationships between root and shoot components of these trees, and hence can be used to study carbon allocation and fluxes of whole above- and below-ground tree parts.
PMCID: PMC3698382  PMID: 23250916
Aeroponics; African mahogany; allometry; Ceiba pentandra; Khaya anthotheca; root–shoot relationships; specific root length; wood density
15.  Above-ground Biomass Investments and Light Interception of Tropical Forest Trees and Lianas Early in Succession 
Annals of Botany  2007;99(1):141-151.
Background and Aims
Crown structure and above-ground biomass investment was studied in relation to light interception of trees and lianas growing in a 6-month-old regenerating forest.
The vertical distribution of total above-ground biomass, height, diameter, stem density, leaf angles and crown depth were measured for individual plants of three short-lived pioneers (SLPs), four long-lived pioneers (LLPs) and three lianas. Daily light interception per individual Φd was calculated with a canopy model. The model was then used to estimate light interception per unit of leaf mass (Φleaf mass), total above-ground mass (Φmass) and crown structure efficiency (Ea, the ratio of absorbed vs. available light).
Key Results
The SLPs Trema and Ochroma intercepted higher amounts of light per unit leaf mass (Φleaf mass) because they had shallower crowns, resulting in higher crown use efficiency (Ea) than the other species. These SLPs (but not Cecropia) were also taller and intercepted more light per unit leaf area (Φarea). LLPs and lianas had considerably higher amounts of leaf mass and area per unit above-ground mass (LMR and LAR, respectively) and thus attained Φmass values similar to the SLPs (Φmass=Φarea×LAR). Lianas, which were mostly self-supporting, had light interception efficiencies similar to those of the trees.
These results show how, due to the trade-off between crown structure and biomass allocation, SLPs, and LLPs and lianas intercept similar amount of light per unit mass which may contribute to the ability of the latter two groups to persist.
PMCID: PMC2802976  PMID: 17210607
Bolivia; canopy model; crown structure; leaf mass ratio; lianas; light interception; pioneers; specific leaf area; tropical forest
16.  Architecture of the Pruned Tree: Impact of Contrasted Pruning Procedures Over 2 Years on Shoot Demography and Spatial Distribution of Leaf Area in Apple (Malus domestica) 
Annals of Botany  2007;99(6):1055-1065.
Background and Aims
Demography and spatial distribution of shoots are rarely studied on pruned trees. The present 2-year study deals with the effect of pruning strategies on shoot demography and development, and consequences on the spatial distribution of leaf area in three architecturally contrasted — from type II to IV — apple cultivars: ‘Scarletspur Delicious’, ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Granny Smith’.
All trees were initially subjected during 5 years to Central Leader training with winter heading on all long shoots. For 2 years, half of the trees were further trained with Centrifugal training, where removal of flowering shoots — called extinction pruning — was carried out along the trunk and at the bottom of branches at flowering time. During these 2 years, shoot type (vegetative, inflorescence) and length, and the three-dimensional spatial distribution of all shoots were assessed with an electromagnetic digitizer.
Key Results
Shoot demography, frequency of transitions toward an inflorescence from either an inflorescence (bourse-over-bourse) or a vegetative shoot (trend toward flowering), and the number of bourse-shoots per bourse were strongly affected by cultivar, with little influence of tree manipulation. In contrast, the proportion of vegetative long shoots developing from previous year latent buds was significantly lower in Centrifugal-trained trees for the three cultivars. Canopy volume showed large variations between cultivars, but only that of ‘Granny Smith’ was affected by tree manipulation in the 2 years. Spatial distribution of shoots varied significantly according to cultivar and manipulation. In ‘Scarletspur Delicious’ and, to a lesser extent ‘Golden Delicious’, the distribution of vegetative and flowering shoots in the outer and the inner parts, respectively, was not affected by tree manipulation. In contrast, in ‘Granny Smith’, vegetative shoots were stimulated in the periphery of Central Leader trees, whereas flowering shoots were stimulated in the periphery of Centrifugal-trained trees.
In apple, the variability of responses to contrasted pruning strategies partly depends on the genetically determined growth and flowering habit of the cultivar.
PMCID: PMC3244342  PMID: 17416911
Malus domestica; apple; architecture; tree ideotype; shoot demography; shoot type; spatial pattern; centrifugal training; central leader; extinction pruning; reiteration
17.  Quantitative Analysis of the Phenotypic Variability of Shoot Architecture in Two Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) Cultivars 
Annals of Botany  2007;99(3):425-437.
Background and Aims
Plant architecture and its interaction with agronomic practices and environmental constraints are determinants of the structure of the canopy, which is involved in carbon acquisition and fruit quality development. A framework for the quantitative analysis of grapevine (Vitis vinifera) shoot architecture, based on a set of topological and geometrical parameters, was developed for the identification of differences between cultivars and the origins of phenotypic variability.
Two commercial cultivars (‘Grenache N’, ‘Syrah’) with different shoot architectures were grown in pots, in well-irrigated conditions. Shoot topology was analysed, using a hidden semi-Markov chain and variable-order Markov chains to identify deviations from the normal pattern of succession of phytomer types (P0–P1–P2), together with kinematic analysis of shoot axis development. Shoot geometry was characterized by final internode and individual leaf area measurements.
Key Results
Shoot architecture differed significantly between cultivars. Secondary leaf area and axis length were greater for ‘Syrah’. Secondary leaf area distribution along the main axis also differed between cultivars, with secondary leaves preferentially located towards the basal part of the shoot in ‘Syrah’. The main factors leading to differences in leaf area between the cultivars were: (a) slight differences in main shoot structure, with the supplementary P0 phytomer on the lower part of the shoot in ‘Grenache N’, which bears a short branch; and (b) an higher rate and duration of development of branches bearing by P1–P2 phytomers related to P0 ones at the bottom of the shoot in ‘Syrah’. Differences in axis length were accounted for principally by differences in individual internode morphology, with ‘Syrah’ having significantly longer internodes. This trait, together with a smaller shoot diameter, may account for the characteristic ‘droopy’ habit of ‘Syrah’ shoots.
This study highlights the architectural parameters involved in the phenotypic variability of shoot architecture in two grapevine cultivars. Differences in primary shoot structure and in branch development potential accounted for the main differences in leaf area distribution between the two cultivars. By contrast, shoot shape seemed to be controlled by differences in axis length due principally to differences in internode length.
PMCID: PMC2802955  PMID: 17204533
Architecture; shoot; organogenesis; morphogenesis; branching; leaf area; genotypic variability; Vitis vinifera
18.  Bud Composition, Branching Patterns and Leaf Phenology in Cerrado Woody Species 
Annals of Botany  2005;96(6):1075-1084.
• Background and Aims Plants have complex mechanisms of aerial biomass exposition, which depend on bud composition, the period of the year in which shoot extension occurs, branching pattern, foliage persistence, herbivory and environmental conditions.
• Methods The influence of water availability and temperature on shoot growth, the bud composition, the leaf phenology, and the relationship between partial leaf fall and branching were evaluated over 3 years in Cerrado woody species Bauhinia rufa (BR), Leandra lacunosa (LL) and Miconia albicans (MA).
• Key Results Deciduous BR preformed organs in buds and leaves flush synchronously at the transition from the dry to the wet season. The expansion time of leaves is <1 month. Main shoots (first-order axis, A1 shoots) extended over 30 d and they did not branch. BR budding and foliage unfolds were brought about independently of inter-annual rainfall variations. By contrast, in LL and MA evergreen species, the shoot extension rate and the neoformation of aerial organs depended on rainfall. Leaf emergence was continuous for 2–6 months and lamina expansion took place over 1–4 months. The leaf life span was 5–20 months and the main A1 shoot extension happened over 122–177 d. Both evergreen species allocated biomass to shoots, leaves or flowers continuously during the year, branching in the middle of the wet season to form second-order (A2 shoots) and third-order (A3 shoots) axis in LL and A2 shoots in MA. Partial shed of A1 shoot leaves would facilitate a higher branching intensity A2 shoot production in LL than in MA. MA presented a longer leaf life span, produced a lower percentage of A2 shoots but had a higher meristem persistence on A1 and A2 shoots than LL.
• Conclusions It was possible to identify different patterns of aerial growth in Cerrado woody species defined by shoot-linked traits such as branching pattern, bud composition, meristem persistence and leaf phenology. These related traits must be considered over and above leaf deciduousness for searching functional guilds in a Cerrado woody community. For the first time a relationship between bud composition, shoot growth and leaf production pattern is found in savanna woody plants.
PMCID: PMC4247095  PMID: 16157631
Bauhinia rufa; branching; Brazil; bud composition; Cerrado; flowering; leaf phenology; Leandra lacunosa; meristem persistence; Miconia albicans; synchronic leaves production; continuous leaf production
19.  Biomass expansion factor and root-to-shoot ratio for Pinus in Brazil 
The Biomass Expansion Factor (BEF) and the Root-to-Shoot Ratio (R) are variables used to quantify carbon stock in forests. They are often considered as constant or species/area specific values in most studies. This study aimed at showing tree size and age dependence upon BEF and R and proposed equations to improve forest biomass and carbon stock. Data from 70 sample Pinus spp. grown in southern Brazil trees in different diameter classes and ages were used to demonstrate the correlation between BEF and R, and forest inventory data, such as DBH, tree height and age. Total dry biomass, carbon stock and CO2 equivalent were simulated using the IPCC default values of BEF and R, corresponding average calculated from data used in this study, as well as the values estimated by regression equations. The mean values of BEF and R calculated in this study were 1.47 and 0.17, respectively. The relationship between BEF and R and the tree measurement variables were inversely related with negative exponential behavior. Simulations indicated that use of fixed values of BEF and R, either IPCC default or current average data, may lead to unreliable estimates of carbon stock inventories and CDM projects. It was concluded that accounting for the variations in BEF and R and using regression equations to relate them to DBH, tree height and age, is fundamental in obtaining reliable estimates of forest tree biomass, carbon sink and CO2 equivalent.
PMCID: PMC3196695  PMID: 21943243
allometry; carbon; regression; CDM; modeling
20.  Do Interspecific Differences in Sapling Growth Traits Contribute to the Co-dominance of Acer saccharum and Fagus grandifolia? 
Annals of Botany  2007;101(1):103-109.
Background and Aims
Acer saccharum and Fagus grandifolia are among the most dominant late-successional tree species in North America. The influence of sapling growth responses to canopy gaps on the co-dominance of the two species in an old-growth forest in southern Quebec, Canada was examined. Two predictions were evaluated: (a) F. grandifolia is more shade tolerant than A. saccharum due to greater sapling leaf area and net production per sapling in closed-canopy conditions; and (b) the height growth rate of A. saccharum in canopy gaps is greater than that of F. grandifolia due to increased net production per sapling.
Sapling crown allometry, net production and height growth rates were compared between and within the two species in closed canopy vs. canopy gaps. Standardized major axis regression was used to analyse differences in crown allometry.
Key Results
F. grandifolia had greater crown projection, sapling leaf area and net production rate per sapling than A. saccharum in closed-canopy conditions. In response to canopy gaps, net production per sapling increased to the same degree in both species. The net production per sapling of F. grandifolia thus was much greater than that of A. saccharum in both canopy gap and closed-canopy conditions. The height growth rate of both species increased in canopy gaps, but the degree of increase was greater in F. grandifolia than in A. saccharum.
F. grandifolia regenerated more successfully than A. saccharum in both closed-canopy conditions and canopy gaps, which indicates that the co-dominance of the two species cannot be maintained simply by interspecific differences in shade tolerance and growth in gaps. Previous research showed that although Fagus and Acer shared dominance at this site, their relative dominance shifted with edaphic conditions. This suggests that the widespread co-dominance of the two species in eastern North American forests is maintained by the joint influence of canopy disturbance and species-specific responses to the heterogeneity of moisture and fertility regimes within forested landscapes.
PMCID: PMC2701832  PMID: 17942590
American beech; crown architecture; crown allometry; height growth rate; net production rate; saplings; sugar maple
21.  Duration of shoot elongation in Scots pine varies within the crown and between years 
Annals of Botany  2013;112(6):1181-1191.
Background and Aims
Shoot elongation in boreal and temperate trees typically follows a sigmoid pattern where the onset and cessation of growth are related to accumulated effective temperature (thermal time). Previous studies on leader shoots suggest that while the maximum daily growth rate depends on the availability of resources to the shoot, the duration of the growth period may be an adaptation to long-term temperature conditions. However, other results indicate that the growth period may be longer in faster growing lateral shoots with higher availability of resources. This study investigates the interactions between the rate of elongation and the duration of the growth period in units of thermal time in lateral shoots of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris).
Length development of 202 lateral shoots were measured approximately three times per week during seven growing seasons in 2–5 trees per year in a mature stand and in three trees during one growing season in a sapling stand. A dynamic shoot growth model was adapted for the analysis to determine (1) the maximum growth rate and (2) the thermal time reached at growth completion. The relationship between those two parameters and its variation between trees and years was analysed using linear mixed models.
Key Results
The shoots with higher maximum growth rate within a crown continued to grow for a longer period in any one year. Higher July–August temperature of the previous summer implied a higher requirement of thermal time for growth completion.
The results provide evidence that the requirement of thermal time for completion of lateral shoot extension in Scots pine may interact with resource availability to the shoot both from year to year and among shoots in a crown each year. If growing season temperatures rise in the future, this will affect not only the rate of shoot growth but its duration also.
PMCID: PMC3783244  PMID: 23985987
Annual course of growth; daily variation in growth; Scots pine; Pinus sylvestris; thermal growth requirement; thermal time; dynamic model; phenology
22.  Stimulating seedling growth in early stages of secondary forest succession: a modeling approach to guide tree liberation 
Excessive growth of non-woody plants and shrubs on degraded lands can strongly hamper tree growth and thus secondary forest succession. A common method to accelerate succession, called liberation, involves opening up the vegetation canopy around young target trees. This can increase growth of target trees by reducing competition for light with neighboring plants. However, liberation has not always had the desired effect, likely due to differences in light requirement between tree species. Here we present a 3D-model, which calculates photosynthetic rate of individual trees in a vegetation stand. It enables us to examine how stature, crown structure, and physiological traits of target trees and characteristics of the surrounding vegetation together determine effects of light on tree growth. The model was applied to a liberation experiment conducted with three pioneer species in a young secondary forest in Vietnam. Species responded differently to the treatment depending on their height, crown structure and their shade-tolerance level. Model simulations revealed practical thresholds over which the tree growth response is heavily influenced by the height and density of surrounding vegetation and gap radius. There were strong correlations between calculated photosynthetic rates and observed growth: the model was well able to predict growth of trees in young forests and the effects of liberation there upon. Thus, our model serves as a useful tool to analyze light competition between young trees and surrounding vegetation and may help assess the potential effect of tree liberation.
PMCID: PMC4102908  PMID: 25101100
forest restoration; gap creation; photosynthesis model; light competition; Vietnam
23.  Mixed-Forest Species Establishment in a Monodominant Forest in Central Africa: Implications for Tropical Forest Invasibility 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97585.
Traits of non-dominant mixed-forest tree species and their synergies for successful co-occurrence in monodominant Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest have not yet been investigated. Here we compared the tree species diversity of the monodominant forest with its adjacent mixed forest and then determined which fitness proxies and life history traits of the mixed-forest tree species were most associated with successful co-existence in the monodominant forest.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We sampled all trees (diameter in breast height [dbh]≥10 cm) within 6×1 ha topographically homogenous areas of intact central African forest in SE Cameroon, three independent patches of G. dewevrei-dominated forest and three adjacent areas (450–800 m apart). Monodominant G. dewevrei forest had lower sample-controlled species richness, species density and population density than its adjacent mixed forest in terms of stems with dbh≥10 cm. Analysis of a suite of population-level characteristics, such as relative abundance and geographical distribution, and traits such as wood density, height, diameter at breast height, fruit/seed dispersal mechanism and light requirement–revealed after controlling for phylogeny, species that co-occur with G. dewevrei tend to have higher abundance in adjacent mixed forest, higher wood density and a lower light requirement.
Our results suggest that certain traits (wood density and light requirement) and population-level characteristics (relative abundance) may increase the invasibility of a tree species into a tropical closed-canopy system. Such knowledge may assist in the pre-emptive identification of invasive tree species.
PMCID: PMC4028239  PMID: 24844914
24.  A Lidar Point Cloud Based Procedure for Vertical Canopy Structure Analysis And 3D Single Tree Modelling in Forest 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2008;8(6):3938-3951.
A procedure for both vertical canopy structure analysis and 3D single tree modelling based on Lidar point cloud is presented in this paper. The whole area of research is segmented into small study cells by a raster net. For each cell, a normalized point cloud whose point heights represent the absolute heights of the ground objects is generated from the original Lidar raw point cloud. The main tree canopy layers and the height ranges of the layers are detected according to a statistical analysis of the height distribution probability of the normalized raw points. For the 3D modelling of individual trees, individual trees are detected and delineated not only from the top canopy layer but also from the sub canopy layer. The normalized points are resampled into a local voxel space. A series of horizontal 2D projection images at the different height levels are then generated respect to the voxel space. Tree crown regions are detected from the projection images. Individual trees are then extracted by means of a pre-order forest traversal process through all the tree crown regions at the different height levels. Finally, 3D tree crown models of the extracted individual trees are reconstructed. With further analyses on the 3D models of individual tree crowns, important parameters such as crown height range, crown volume and crown contours at the different height levels can be derived.
PMCID: PMC3714669
Lidar; Point Cloud; Single Tree; Crown; 3D Modelling
25.  Environment-dependent microevolution in a Mediterranean pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) 
BMC Evolutionary Biology  2014;14(1):200.
A central question for understanding the evolutionary responses of plant species to rapidly changing environments is the assessment of their potential for short-term (in one or a few generations) genetic change. In our study, we consider the case of Pinus pinaster Aiton (maritime pine), a widespread Mediterranean tree, and (i) test, under different experimental conditions (growth chamber and semi-natural), whether higher recruitment in the wild from the most successful mothers is due to better performance of their offspring; and (ii) evaluate genetic change in quantitative traits across generations at two different life stages (mature trees and seedlings) that are known to be under strong selection pressure in forest trees.
Genetic control was high for most traits (h2 = 0.137-0.876) under the milder conditions of the growth chamber, but only for ontogenetic change (0.276), total height (0.415) and survival (0.719) under the more stressful semi-natural conditions. Significant phenotypic selection gradients were found in mature trees for traits related to seed quality (germination rate and number of empty seeds). Moreover, female relative reproductive success was significantly correlated with offspring performance for specific leaf area (SLA) in the growth chamber experiment, and stem mass fraction (SMF) in the experiment under semi-natural conditions, two adaptive traits related to abiotic stress-response in pines. Selection gradients based on genetic covariance of seedling traits and responses to selection at this stage involved traits related to biomass allocation (SMF) and growth (as decomposed by a Gompertz model) or delayed ontogenetic change, depending also on the testing environment.
Despite the evidence of microevolutionary change in adaptive traits in maritime pine, directional or disruptive changes are difficult to predict due to variable selection at different life stages and environments. At mature-tree stages, higher female effective reproductive success can be explained by differences in their production of offspring (due to seed quality) and, to a lesser extent, by seemingly better adapted seedlings. Selection gradients and responses to selection for seedlings also differed across experimental conditions. The distinct processes involved at the two life stages (mature trees or seedlings) together with environment-specific responses advice caution when predicting likely evolutionary responses to environmental change in Mediterranean forest trees.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-014-0200-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177426  PMID: 25245540
Adaptive traits; Response to selection; Selection gradients; Phenotypic directional selection; Mediterranean forest

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