Examining growth relationships in Quercus stands: An application of individual-tree models developed from long-term thinning experiments

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15 Scopus citations


This manuscript seeks to further the understanding of growth patterns in Quercus forests, thereby informing the development of appropriate thinning practice. The author leveraged a network of thinning experiments established by the US Forest Service more than 50 years ago. Individual-tree diameter growth and survival models were developed along with a simulation framework to evaluate the relationship between stand stocking and 20-year basal area and volume growth. Models predicting five-year diameter growth and survival of individual trees included variables representing tree size, competitive position, stand density, and/or site quality. Model evaluation focused on the collective accuracy and cumulative error propagation of the individual-tree models through four, five-year growth cycles. Through a series of stand density simulations in white oak (Quercus alba L.) dominated forest structures representing four mid-rotation age conditions, it was found that stand basal area and total volume growth followed a unimodal pattern culminating at 50–60% stocking. Sawtimber volume growth was more sensitive to initial stand age, and the stocking level where it peaked increased with increasing age. The study not only helps to define relationships for Quercus stands of the Central Hardwood Forest Region, USA, but it also adds to the limited body of research quantifying individual-tree and stand growth relationships within mixed species broadleaf forest types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalForest Ecology and Management
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This long-term study was made possible through considerable efforts by a large number of people. The author would like to gratefully thank Martin Dale, Ivan Sander, Russell Walters, Donald Hilt, and other members of the US Forest Service, Central States Forest Experiment Station and later the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station (currently the Northern Research Station) involved in the establishment and initial evaluations of the study sites utilized within this manuscript. The author would also like to thank Todd Hutchison and Daniel Yaussy of the US Forest Service Northern Research Station laboratory in Delaware, OH for their efforts to maintain the long-term monitoring of the study sites as well as their crucial assistance with historical records and associated data. The author is grateful to Steven Shifley and Benjamin Knapp for their review of the manuscript’s initial draft along with Jeffrey Stringer for our discussions surrounding this work. The author acknowledges the University of Kentucky and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program for providing funding for this project. The research was also part of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station project no. KY009027 entitled “Silvicultural Approaches to Enhance the Resiliency of Oak-Dominated Forests to Disturbance”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Density-growth relationships
  • Diameter growth
  • Quercus
  • Stand stocking
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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