Trees with otherwise equal dimensions have different leaf areas if they are located in different stand types. While leaf area of European larch is affected by mixture proportion, leaf area of Norway spruce is affected by stand density.
Leaf area is a key parameter for evaluating growth efficiency of trees, and therefore needs to be measured as consistently and accurately as possible. This is even more important when comparing monospecific and mixed stands. The aim of the study is to find combinations of parameters and allometric relationships that can be used to estimate accurately the leaf area of individual trees. Allometries of the measured leaf area of 194 trees in 12 stands were analysed in order to find variables affecting leaf area. Existing functions from the literature were validated. Finally, models were fitted to find the most appropriate method for estimating leaf area of mixed and monospecific stands of Norway spruce and European larch. Allometric relationships of leaf area to other measurable characteristics of trees vary in different stand types. Besides individual tree dimensions such as diameter and crown surface area, leaf area of Norway spruce is related to stand density, whereas the leaf area of European larch is dependent on the admixture of Norway spruce in the stand. In contrast to models for estimating individual tree leaf area of Norway spruce, models for leaf area of European larch have to consider mixture proportions in order to correctly interpret the growth efficiency of mixed stands.
Read the full paper
Dirnberger G, Kumer A-E, Schnur E, Sterba H 2017. Is leaf area of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) and European larch (Larix decidua Mill.) affected by mixture proportion and stand density? Ann. For. Sci. 74: 8. 10.1007/s13595-016-0614-x.