, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 347-356

First online:

Growth indices — Their rôle in understanding the growth, structure and distribution of Australian vegetation

  • R. L. SpechtAffiliated withBotany Department, University of Queensland

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Growth indices, relating the relative growth of the photosynthetic canopy to light, temperature, moisture and soil nutrients, are described. Monthly values of these growth indices are multiplied, together with the foliage projective cover of the canopy, to give an estimate of the net photosynthetic index of the photosynthetic canopy.

An exponentially-increasing respiration index adjusts for the loss of photosynthates by respiration in stems and roots, thus allowing for an estimate of a Current Annual Growth Index and a Total Growth Index, at maturity.

A translocation index enables the partitioning of photosynthates between tops and roots to be estimated.

These growth indices are examined in relation to the structure, growth and distribution of Australian woody vegetation.