Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Renewable Natural Resources
Sustainable management and conservation of the extensive bottomland hardwood forest resource in the southeastern U.S. requires a good understanding of basic structural and competitive relationships within these forests. To gain an insight into these relationships, plot information from stands in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi were analyzed. The effects of individual tree attributes, distance-dependant, and distance-independent competition measures on 5-yr radial growth of red oak crop trees were examined. Selected species included cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.), water oak (Q. nigra L.), and Nuttall oak (Q. nuttallii Palmer). Spatial continuity of tree variables was explored through geostatistical analysis. Finally, spatial distribution patterns of all species, the intraspecific pattern of cherrybark oak, water oak, and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.), and the interspecific pattern of their pairs was examined with point pattern analysis. In the analysis of 5-yr radial growth, the crown class score (from Meadows et al. 2001) accounted for a large portion of tree diameter growth. However, average plot-level characteristics failed to account for a significant proportion of the variability in tree growth. The basal area of trees taller than the crop trees and located within 2.5 mean crown radii had the highest negative correlation with crop tree 5-yr radial growth. Red oaks were likely exerting the greatest competition. Crop tree radial growth was also positively associated with the basal area of other red oaks taller than the crop tree and located between 3 and 4 mean crown radii from the crop tree (the indirect neighbors). Geostatistical analysis demonstrated that spatial continuity of unsuppressed tree attributes extended to a distance equal to 4 times the mean crown radius, suggesting that when resources are nonlimiting, multiple trees may be able to coexist and grow well in close proximity. Spatial point pattern analysis indicated that when species were combined, they were frequently aggregated and sometimes overdispersed. Plots with larger trees were more likely to exhibit overdispersion suggesting a shift to this pattern as trees grow. Interspecific and intraspecific pattern analyses suggested that strong interspecific competition resulted in species segregation, while weaker intraspecific competition led to aggregations of conspecifics.
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Dimov, Luben D., "Spatial analyses and growth of trees in selected bottomland hardwood stands" (2004). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1743.