Skip to main content
Log in

Scale and resolution of forest structural pattern

  • Published:
Vegetatio Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

An individual tree-based forest succession model was modified to simulate a forest stand as a grid of contiguous 0.01-ha cells. We simulated a 9 ha stand for 750 years and sampled the stand at 50 yr intervals, outputting structural variables for each grid cell. Principal components analysis was used to depict temporal patterns in forest structure as observed in 0.01 ha samples (individual grid cells). We then resampled the grid using square aggregates of 4 to 100 grid cells as quadrats. Principal component scores recalculated for the aggregates, using the original (0.01 ha scale) scoring matrix, depict the effects of obervational scale on perceived patterns in forest structure. Larger quadrats reduce the apparent variation in forest structure and decrease the apparent rate of structural dynamics. Results support a scale-dependent conceptualization of forest systems by illustrating the qualitative difference in forest dynamics as viewed at the scale of individual gap elements as compared to the larger scale steady state mosaic. The aggregation exercise emphasizes the relationship between these two observational scales and serves as a general framework for understanding scaling relationships in ecological phenomena.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Allen, T. F. H., Bartell, S. M. & Koonce, J. F. 1977. Multiple stable configurations in ordinations of phytoplankton community change rates. Ecology 58: 1076–1084.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allen, T. F. H., O'Neill, R. V. & Hoekstra, T. W. 1984. Interlevel relations in ecological research and management: some working principles from hierarchy theory. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-110. Rocky Mtn. For. and Range Exp. Stn., Ft. Collins, CO.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allen, T. F. H. & Shugart, H. H. 1983. Ordination of simulated complex forest succession: a new test of ordination methods. Vegetatio 51: 141–155.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allen, T. F. H. & Starr, T. B. 1982. Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allen, T. F. H. & Wyleto, E. P. 1983. A hierarchical model for the complexity of plant communities. J. Theoret. Biol. 101: 529–540.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bormann, F. H. & Likens, G. E. 1979. Pattern and process in a forested ecosystem. Springer-Verlag, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  • Botkin, D. B., Janak, J. F. & Wallis, J. R. 1972. Some ecological consequences of a computer model of forest growth. J. Ecol. 60: 849–873.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huston, M. L. & Smith, T. M. 1987. Plant succession: life history and competition. Am. Nat. 130: 168–198.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levin, S. A. & Buttel, L. 1986. Measures of patchiness in ecological systems. Ecosystems Research Center Publication No. 130. Section of Ecology and Systematics, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pastor, J. & Post, W. M. 1985. Development of a linked forest productivity-soil process model. ORNL/TM-9519. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.

    Google Scholar 

  • Runkle, J. R. 1985. Disturbance regimes in temperate forests. In: Pickett, S. T. A. & White, P. S. (eds), The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics, Academic Press, Orlando, FL.

    Google Scholar 

  • ShugartJr., H. H. 1984. A theory of forest dynamics. Springer-Verlag, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  • ShugartJr., H. H. & West, D. C. 1977. Development of an Appalachian deciduous forest succession model and its application to assessment of the impact of the chestnut blight. J. Environ. Manage. 5: 161–179.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shugart, H. H. & West, D. C. 1979. Size and pattern of simulated forest stands. For. Sci. 25: 120–122.

    Google Scholar 

  • Watt, A. S. 1925. On the ecology of British beech woods, with special reference to their regeneration. II. The development and structure of beech communities on the Sussex Downs. J. Ecol. 13: 27–73.

    Google Scholar 

  • Watt, A. S. 1947. Pattern and process in the plant community. J. Ecol. 35: 1–22.

    Google Scholar 

  • Whittaker, R. H. 1953. A consideration of climax theory: the climax as a population and pattern. Ecol. Monogr. 23: 41–78.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Smith, T.M., Urban, D.L. Scale and resolution of forest structural pattern. Vegetatio 74, 143–150 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00044739

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00044739

Keywords

Navigation