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1.  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
2.  A before and after comparison of the effects of forest walking on the sleep of a community-based sample of people with sleep complaints 
Sleep disturbance is a major health issue in Japan. This before-after study aimed to evaluate the immediate effects of forest walking in a community-based population with sleep complaints.
Participants were 71 healthy volunteers (43 men and 28 women). Two-hour forest-walking sessions were conducted on 8 different weekend days from September through December 2005. Sleep conditions were compared between the nights before and after walking in a forest by self-administered questionnaire and actigraphy data.
Two hours of forest walking improved sleep characteristics; impacting actual sleep time, immobile minutes, self-rated depth of sleep, and sleep quality. Mean actual sleep time estimated by actigraphy on the night after forest walking was 419.8 ± 128.7 (S.D.) minutes whereas that the night before was 365.9 ± 89.4 minutes (n = 42). Forest walking in the afternoon improved actual sleep time and immobile minutes compared with forest walking in the forenoon. Mean actual sleep times did not increase after forenoon walks (n = 26) (the night before and after forenoon walks, 380.0 ± 99.6 and 385.6 ± 101.7 minutes, respectively), whereas afternoon walks (n = 16) increased mean actual sleep times from 342.9 ± 66.2 to 475.4 ± 150.5 minutes. The trend of mean immobile minutes was similar to the abovementioned trend of mean actual sleep times.
Forest walking improved nocturnal sleep conditions for individuals with sleep complaints, possibly as a result of exercise and emotional improvement. Furthermore, extension of sleep duration was greater after an afternoon walk compared to a forenoon walk. Further study of a forest-walking program in a randomized controlled trial is warranted to clarify its effect on people with insomnia.
PMCID: PMC3216244  PMID: 21999605
forest walking (Shinrin-yoku); actual sleep time; actigraphy; St. Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire; circadian phase

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