, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 104-109

First online:

Bias in leaf area — sapwood area ratios and its impact on growth analysis in Pinus contorta

  • Thomas J. DeanAffiliated withDepartment of Forestry, University of Florida
  • , James N. LongAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Resources and Ecology Center, Utah State University
  • , Frederick W. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Forest and Wood Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, Colorado State University

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Two alternative estimators of individual tree leaf area (A1) area are used to derive estimates of leaf-area index (L) for 40 plots in Pinus contorta Dougl. stands. One estimator of A1 is based on the common assumption of a constant ratio between A1 and sapwood cross-sectional area at breast height (As). The second estimator of A1 accounts for tree-to-tree variation in the relation between A1 and As. The apparent relationship between stand growth and leaf-area index is strongly dependent on the way leaf area is estimated. When L is derived from a constant A1∶As ratio, stand growth appears to be strongly correlated with L. However, when L is based on estmates of A1 that account for tree-to-tree variation in the A1 — As relation, stand growth is seen to be only weakly related to L. Stand structure, quantified as percent live-crown, accounts for a great deal of the observed variation in leaf-area efficiency. These contrasting relationships illustrate the importance of unbiased estimates of L in interpreting the link between stand-level processes and leaf area.

Key words

Leaf area Sapwood cross-sectional area Production Leaf-area efficiency