Distance-independent tree basal area growth models for Norway spruce, Douglas-fir and Japanese larch in Southern Belgium. Eur J Forest Res. DOI 10.1007/s10342-016-1019-y
This paper presents new harmonized distance independent individual tree basal area growth models for Norway spruce, Douglas-fir and Japanese larch in pure
even-aged stands in Southern Belgium. The selected model was originally developed for Norway spruce and Douglas-fir in neighboring France. New formulations are proposed for some of the model components in order to lower the number of fitted parameters and facilitate the fitting procedure. The resulting models integrate the most recent corresponding top-height growth models and use four simple and usually collected explanatory variables: stand age, top-height, total basal area and tree girth at breast height. The modified formulations maintain similar fitting performances and make it easier to interpret the influence of the explanatory variables on tree growth. Parameters estimates were fitted on thousands of growth measurements gathered from several monitoring plots, forest management inventories and silvicultural field experiments that represent the wide range of site conditions and of forest management scenarios applied to coniferous stands in Southern Belgium. Cross-validation of the models revealed no bias and highlighted their consistent behavior over the entire range of girth at breast height, age, top-height, site index and density represented in our dataset. Combining utility and robust performances, these models represent useful forest management tools, purposely ideal for forest simulation software development. Moreover, the flexibility and generic capabilities of the model formulation should make it easily adjustable for other species in even-aged stands.
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