Considering neighborhood effects improves individual dbh growth models for natural mixed-species forests in Mexico

More accurate diameter at breast height (dbh)-growth models are needed for developing management tools for mixed-species forests in Mexico. Individual distance-dependent dbh growth models that quantify local neighborhood effects have been developed for four species groups in such forests. The performance of the models is improved by distinguishing between inter- and intraspecific group competitions.

Context The management of mixed-species forests in the northwest of Durango, Mexico, is mainly based on the selection method. Understanding the interspecific and intraspecific competition is critical to developing management tools for such mixed-species forests.
Aims An individual-based distance-dependent modeling approach was used to model the growth of dbh and to evaluate neighborhood effects for four species groups in Mexican mixed-species stands.
Methods Twenty-two species were classified into four groups: Pinus (seven species), other conifers (three species), other broadleaves (four species), and Quercus (eight species). Four methods were used to select neighboring trees and 12 competition indices (CIs) were calculated. Comparisons of the neighboring trees selection methods and CIs and tests of assumptions about neighborhood effects were conducted.
Results Intra-species-group competition significantly reduced diameter growth for all species groups, except for the Quercus group. The Pinus, other conifers, and Quercus groups had significant and negative neighborhood effects on the other broadleaves species group, and not vice versa. The Quercus group also had negative neighborhood effect on the Pinus and other conifers species groups, and not vice versa. The Pinus and other conifers species groups had negative neighborhood effects on each other. All fitted age-independent dbh growth models showed a good of fit to the data (adjusted coefficient of determination larger than 0.977).
Conclusion The growth models can be used to predict dbh growth for species groups and competition in mixed-species stand from Durango, Mexico.

Competition effect, Crown-overlapping, Distance-dependent indices, Subject tree, Neighbor tree

Quiñonez-Barraza, G., Zhao, D., De Los Santos Posadas, H.M. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2018) 75: 78.

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