Current issue: 55(2)
Under compilation: 55(3)
Diameter at breast height (DBH) and height (H) of trees are two important variables used in forest management plans. However, collecting the measurements of H is time-consuming and costly. Instead, the H-DBH relationship is modeled and used to estimate H. But, ignoring the effects of slope, aspect and tree competition on the H-DBH relationship often impedes the improvement of H predictions. In this study, to improve predictions of Cyclobalanopsis glauca (Thunb.) Oerst. tree H in mixed forests, we compared eleven H-DBH models and examined the influence of slope and aspect on the H-DBH relationship using 426 trees. We then improved Hegyi competition index and explored its effect on the H predictions by including it in the selected models. Results showed 1) There were statistically significant effects of slope and aspect on the H-DBH relationship; 2) The log transformation and exponential model performed best for sunny- and shady-steep, respectively, and the Gompertz’s model was optimal for both sunny- and shady-gentle; 3) Compared with the whole dataset, the division of the data into the slope and aspect sub-datasets significantly reduced the RMSE of H predictions; 4) Compared with the selected models without competition index, adding the original Hegyi and improved Hegyi_I into the models improved the H predictions but only the models containing the improved Hegyi_I significantly increased the prediction accuracy at the significant level of 0.1. This study implied that modeling the H-DBH relationship under different slopes and aspects and including the improved Hegyi_I provided the great potential to improve the H predictions.
Canopy gap is the driving force of forest succession. Due to the uncontrollability, however, the influences of natural disturbances on gap formation and gap distribution pattern have been rarely understood in temperate secondary forest ecosystems. We monitored the gap formation and gap distribution pattern using high-resolution remote sensing images before and after two disturbances (wind/snowstorm in 2003 and flood in 2013). The results showed that after wind/snowstorm, the gap nearest neighbor index (GNNI) decreased, the vacant land area did not obviously change while the gap fraction and gaps density (especially medium size) increased. After the flood, GNNI decreased, the number of small gaps increased but larger gaps were in many cases extended to vacant land areas leading to a smaller total number of medium and large gaps but considerable increase in vacant land area. We also found that the gap densities increased with slope and altitude for wind/snowstorm-formed gaps, but they increased with increasing slope and decreasing altitude for flood-formed gaps. These results indicated that gaps were aggregated in steep slope and high altitude areas after wind/snowstorm, but in steep slope and low altitude areas after the flood. Medium gaps were mainly created by the wind/snowstorm due to the individual-level death of dominant tree with the continuous fall of surrounding trees. While, vacant lands were obviously created during the flood because of integral sweeping. Besides, smaller trees were easily damaged by runoff of flood, which induced small gaps. In summary, forest managers may pay more attention to use gaps to accelerate forest succession after wind/snowstorms and to restore vegetation in vacant lands after floods.
The biomass of a secondary evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest was comprehensively inventoried in a permanent 2 ha plot in southwestern China. Biomass models, sub-sampling, soil pit method, and published data were utilized to determine the biomass of all components. Results showed that the total biomass of the forest was 158.1 Mg ha−1; the total biomass included the major aboveground (137.7 Mg ha−1) and belowground (20.3 Mg ha−1) biomass components of vascular plants as well as the minor biomass components of bryophytes (0.078 Mg ha−1) and lichens (0.043 Mg ha−1). The necromass was 17.6 Mg ha−1 and included woody debris (9.0 Mg ha−1) and litter (8.6 Mg ha−1). The spatial pattern of the aboveground biomass was determined by the spatial distribution of dominant trees with large diameter, tall height, and dense wood. The belowground biomass differed in terms of root diameter and decreased with increasing soil depth. The belowground biomass in each soil pit in local habitats was not related to the spatial distribution of woody plants and soil pit depth. The karst forest presented lower biomass compared than the nonkarst forests in the subtropical zone. Biomass carbon in the karst terrains would increase substantially if degraded karst vegetation could be successfully restored to the forest. Comprehensive site-based biomass inventory of karst vegetation will contribute not only to provide data for benchmarking global and regional vegetation and carbon models but also for regional carbon inventory and vegetation restoration.