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Precision of allometric scaling equations for trees can be improved by including the effect of ecological interactions



Precision of allometric scaling equations for trees can be improved by including the effect of ecological interactions



Trees 22(4): 579-584



Allometric scaling relationships of the form Y=aXb are widely utilized in many types of models and analyses of tree structure. They are often viewed as static relationships where both the scaling exponent (b) and the normalization constant (a) obtain empirical values that are fixed within a single set of data. Among different sets of data, their values can show environmental variability. However, there have been only few attempts to give a mechanistic interpretation for this variability. We used field data to demonstrate how the scaling relationships in trees can be modified by ecological interactions. Moreover, we show how such processes can be incorporated into the scaling models to improve the fit and the information content of the scaling equations. When fixed theoretical scaling exponents were used instead of empirical exponents and when the effect of competitive interactions between trees was described by separate submodels that predicted the value of the normalisation constant in the scaling equations, it was possible to obtain 410% improvement in the model fit of three different structural scaling relationships. Our results suggest that unexplained variation in the values of the scaling parameters can be substituted by an identified effect of ecological factors on the value of the normalisation constant. This agrees with recent theoretical suggestions stating that ecological factors can directly influence the value of normalisation constants.

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Accession: 023394546

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1007/s00468-008-0218-7


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