Advertisement

Is tree age or tree size reducing height increment in Abies alba Mill. at its southernmost distribution limit?

  • Pasquale A. MarzilianoEmail author
  • Roberto Tognetti
  • Fabio Lombardi
Research Paper

Abstract

Key message

Conventional methods for estimating the current annual increment of stand volume are based on the uncertain assumption that height increment decreases with tree age. Conversely, size, rather than age, should be accounted for the observed senescence-related declines in relative growth rate and, consequently, implemented in silvicultural manuals. Results stem from a study on Abies alba Mill. at its southern limit of distribution.

Context

Many factors limit height increment when age and size increase in large-statured tree species. Height–diameter allometric relationships are commonly used measures of tree growth.

Aims

In this study, we tested if tree age was the main factor affecting the reduction in height increment of silver fir trees (Abies alba Mill.), verifying also whether tree size had a significant role in ecophysiological-biomechanical limitations to tree growth.

Methods

The study was carried out in a silver fir forest located in Southern Italy, at the southernmost distribution limit for this species. Through a stratified random sampling, 100 trees were selected. All the selected trees were then felled and the total tree height, height increments (internode distances), diameter at breast height, and diameter increments (ring widths) were measured.

Results

The analyses of allometric models and scaling coefficients showed that the correlation between tree age and height increment was not always significant.

Conclusion

We may conclude that tree age did not statistically explain the decrease in height increment in older trees. Instead, the increase in tree size and related physiological processes (expressed as product between diameter at breast height and tree height) explained the reduction in height increment in older trees and was the main factor limiting height growth trends in marginal population of silver fir.

Keywords

Abies alba Mill Allometry Apennines Dendro-auxometry Height increment Tree size 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to John M. Lhotka (associate editor of Annals of Forest Science) and two anonymous reviewers for their precious comments and suggestions on the manuscript. The research is linked to activities conducted within the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action CLIMO (Climate-Smart Forestry in Mountain Regions–CA15226) financially supported by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation HORIZON 2020.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Ambrose AR, Sillett SC, Koch GW, Van Pelt R, Antoine ME, Dawson TE (2010) Effects of height on treetop transpiration and stomatal conductance in coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Tree Physiol 30:1260–1272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anfodillo T, Carraro V, Carrer M, Fior C, Rossi S (2006) Convergent tapering of xylem conduits in different woody species. New Phytol 169:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antonucci S, Rossi S, Lombardi F, Marchetti M, Tognetti R (2018) Influence of climatic factors on silver fir xylogenesis along the Italian peninsula. IAWA J in pressGoogle Scholar
  4. Assmann E (1970) The principles of forest yield study. Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Avery TE, Burkhart HE (2002) Forest measurements (5th edition). McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnard HR, Ryan MG (2003) A test of the hydraulic limitation hypothesis in fast-growing Eucalyptus saligna. Plant, Cell and Environment 26:1235–1245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Becker P, Gribben RJ, Lim CM (2000b) Tapered conduits can buffer hydraulic conductance from path-length effects. Tree Physiol 20:965–967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Becker P, Meinzer FC, Wullschleger SD (2000a) Hydraulic limitation of tree height: a critique. Funct Ecol 14:4–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bennett FA, Clutter JL (1968) Multiple-product yield estimates for unthinned slash pine plantation-pulpwood, sawtimber, gum, USDA Forest Service Research Paper SE-35. Southeastern Forest Experimental Station, Ashville, NCGoogle Scholar
  10. Binkley D, Stape JL, Ryan MG, Barnard HR, Fownes J (2002) Age-related decline in forest ecosystem growth: an individual-tree, stand-structure hypothesis. Ecosystems 5:58–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bond BJ (2000) Age-related changes in photosynthesis of woody plants. Trends Plant Sci 5:349–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bond BJ, Czarnomski NM, Cooper C, Day ME, Greenwood MS (2007) Developmental decline in height growth in Douglas-fir. Tree Physiol 27:441–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clutter JL, Fortson JC, Pienaar LV, Brister GH, Bailey RL (1983) Timber management: a quantitative approach. John Wiley & SonsGoogle Scholar
  14. Coomes DA, Lines ER, Allen RB (2011) Moving on from metabolic scaling theory: hierarchical models of tree growth and asymmetric competition for light. J Ecol 99:748–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Corona P, Fattorini L, Franceschi S (2009) Estimating the volume of forest growing stock using auxiliary information derived from relascope or ocular assessments. For Ecol Manag 257:2108–2114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Corona P, Marziliano PA, Scotti R (2002) Top-down growth modelling: a prototype for poplar plantations in Italy. For Ecol Manag 161:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Curtis RO (1967) Height–diameter and height–diameter–age equation for second growth Douglas-fir. For Sci 13:365–375Google Scholar
  18. Day ME, Greenwood MS, Diaz-Sala C (2002) Age and size-related trends in woody plant shoot development: regulatory pathways and evidence for genetic control. Tree Physiol 22:507–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Day ME, Greenwood MS, White AS (2001) Age-related changes in foliar morphology and physiology in red spruce and their influence on declining photosynthetic rates and productivity with tree age. Tree Physiol 21:1195–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Du N, Fan JT, Chen S, Liu Y (2008) A hydraulic-photosynthetic model based on extended HLH and its application to coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). J Theor Biol 253:393–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Enquist BJ, Wes GB, Brown JH (2000) Quarter-power scaling in vascular plants: functional basis and ecological consequences. In: Brown JH, West GB (eds) Scaling in biology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp 167–199Google Scholar
  22. Enquist BJ (2003) Cope's rule and the evolution of long-distance transport in vascular plants: allometric scaling, biomass partitioning and optimization. Plant, Cell and Environment 26:151–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Feldpausch TR, Banin L, Phillips OL, Baker TR, Lewis SL, Quesada CA, Affum-Baffoe K, Arets EJMM, Berry NJ, Bird M, Brondizio ES, de Camargo P, Chave J, Djagbletey G, Domingues TF, Drescher M, Fearnside PM, França MB, Fyllas NM, Lopez-Gonzalez G, Hladik A, Higuchi N, Hunter MO, Iida Y, Salim KA, Kassim AR, Keller M, Kemp J, King DA, Lovett JC, Marimon BS, Marimon-Junior BH, Lenza E, Marshall AR, Metcalfe DJ, Mitchard ETA, Moran EF, Nelson BW, Nilus R, Nogueira EM, Palace M, Patiño S, Peh KSH, Raventos MT, Reitsma JM, Saiz G, Schrodt F, Sonké B, Taedoumg HE, Tan S, White L, Wöll H, Lloyd J (2011) Height–diameter allometry of tropical forest trees. Biogeosciences 8:1081–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Friend AD (1993) The prediction and physiological significance of tree height. In: Solomon AM, Shugart HH (eds) Vegetation dynamics and global change. Springer, Boston, MA, pp 101–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fritts HC (1976) Tree ring and climate. Academic Press, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  26. Givnish TJ, Wong SC, Stuart-Williams H, Holloway-Phillips M, Farquhar GD (2014) Determinants of maximum tree height in Eucalyptus species along a rainfall gradient in Victoria, Australia. Ecology 95:2991–3007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gower ST, McMurtrie RE, Murty D (1996) Aboveground net primary production decline with stand age: potential causes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11:378–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hara T, Kimura M, Kikuzawa K (1991) Growth patterns of tree height and stem diameter in populations of Abies Veitchii, A. Mariesii and Betula Ermanii. J Ecol 79:1085–1098CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Henry HAL, Aarssen LW (1999) The interpretation of stem diameter–height allometry in trees: biomechanical constraints, neighbor effects, or biased regressions? Ecol Lett 2:89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Husch B, Beers TW, Kershaw JA (2003) Forest mensuration, 4th edn J. Wiley & SonsGoogle Scholar
  31. Ishii HR, Sillett SC, Carroll AL (2017) Crown dynamics and wood production of Douglas-fir trees in an old-growth forest. For Ecol Manag 384:157–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jensen KH, Zwieniecki MA (2013) Physical limits to leaf size in tall trees. Phys Rev Lett 110Google Scholar
  33. Jiang L, Tian D, Ma S, Zhou X, Xu L, Zhu J, Jing X, Zheng C, Shen H, Zhou Z, Li Y, Zhu B, Fang J (2018) The response of tree growth to nitrogen and phosphorus additions in a tropical montane rainforest. Sci Total Environ 618:1064–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kempes CP, West GB, Crowell K, Girvan M (2011) Predicting maximum tree heights and other traits from allometric scaling and resource limitations. PLoS One 6:e20551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kenzo T, Ichie T, Watanabe Y, Yoneda R, Ninomiya I, Koike T (2006) Changes in photosynthesis and leaf characteristics with tree height in five dipterocarp species in a tropical rain forest. Tree Physiol 26:865–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koch GW, Sillett SC, Jennings GM, Davis SD (2004) The limits to tree height. Nature 428:851–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lanner RM, Connor KF (2001) Does bristlecone pine senesce? Exp Gerontol 36:675–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Larjavaara M (2014) The world's tallest trees grow in thermally similar climates. New Phytol 202:344–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Larjavaara M, Muller-Landau HC (2012) Temperature explains global variation in biomass among humid old-growth forests. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 21:998–1006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Larjavaara M, Muller-Landau HC (2013) Corrigendum on: temperature explains global variation in biomass among humid old-growth forests (vol. 21, pp. 998, 2012). Glob Ecol Biogeogr 22:772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lhotka JM, Loewenstein EF (2015) Comparing individual-tree approaches for predicting height growth of underplanted seedlings. Ann For Sci 72:469–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Magnani F, Grace J, Borghetti M (2002) Adjustment of tree structure in response to the environment under hydraulic constraints. Funct Ecol 16:385–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Martìnez-Vilalta J, Vanderklein D, Mencuccini M (2007) Tree height and age-related decline in growth in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Oecologia 150:529–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marziliano PA, Tognetti R, Lombardi F (2018) Is tree age or tree size reducing height increment in Abies alba Mill. at its southernmost distribution limit? V2. Zenodo. [Dataset].  https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2526274
  45. Marziliano PA, Lafortezza R, Colangelo G, Davies C, Sanesi G (2013) Structural diversity and height growth models in urban forest plantations: a case-study in northern Italy. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 12:246–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marziliano PA, Menguzzato G, Scuderi A, Corona P (2012) Simplified methods to inventory the current annual increment of forest standing volume. iForest 5:276–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McDowell N, Barnard H, Bond BJ, Hinckley T, Hubbard RM, Ishii H, Köstner B, Magnani F, Marshall JD, Meinzer FC, Phillips N, Ryan MG, Whitehead D (2002) The relationship between tree height and leaf area: sapwood area ratio. Oecologia 132:12–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mencuccini M (2003) The ecological significance of long-distance water transport: short-term regulation, long-term acclimation and the hydraulic costs of stature across plant life forms. Plant, Cell and Environment 26:163–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mencuccini M, Martınez-Vilalta J, Hamid HA, Korakaki E, Vanderklein D, Lee S, Michiels B (2005) Size, not cellular senescence, explains reduced vigour in tall trees. Ecol Lett 8:1183–1190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mencuccini M, Martínez-Vilalta J, Hamid HA, Korakaki E, Vanderklein D (2007) Evidence for age- and size-mediated controls of tree growth from grafting studies. Tree Physiol 27:463–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Meng SX, Lieffers VJ, Reid DEB, Rudnicki M, Silins U, Jin M (2006) Reducing stem bending increases the height growth of tall pines. J Exp Bot 57:3175–3182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Midgley JJ (2003) Is bigger better in plants? The hydraulic costs of increasing size in trees. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18:5–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Murty D, McMurtrie RE, Ryan MG (1996) Declining forest productivity in aging forest stands: a modeling analysis of alternative hypotheses. Tree Physiol 16:187–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Netting AG (2009) Limitations within “the limits to tree height”. Am J Bot 96:542–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Niklas KJ (1992) Plant biomechanics: an engineering approach to plant form and function. In: University of Chicago Press. USA, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  56. Niklas KJ (1994) Plant allometry: the scaling of form and process. In: University of Chicago Press. USA, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  57. Niklas KJ (2007) Maximum plant height and the biophysical factors that limit it. Tree Physiol 27:433–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Niklas KJ, Spatz HC (2004) Growth and hydraulic (not mechanical) constraints govern the scaling of tree height and mass. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101:15661–15663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Onate M, Munne-Bosch S (2008) Meristem aging is not responsible for age-related changes in growth and abscisic acid levels in the Mediterranean shrub, Cistus clusii. Plant Biol 10:148–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Paine CET, Marthews TR, Vogt DR, Purves D, Rees M, Hector A, Turnbull LA (2012) How to fit nonlinear plant growth models and calculate growth rates: an update for ecologists. Methods Ecol Evol 3:245–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Parresol BR (1999) Assessing tree and stand biomass: a review with examples and critical comparisons. For Sci 45:573–593Google Scholar
  62. Petit G, Anfodillo T, Mencuccini M (2008) Tapering of xylem conduits and hydraulic limitations in sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) trees. New Phytol 177:653–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Pommerening A (2002) Approaches to quantifying forest structures. Forestry 75:305–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Pommerening A, Muszta A (2015) Methods of modelling relative growth rate. Forest Ecosystems 2:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Prodan M, Holzmesslehre JD (1965) Sauerländer's Verlag. Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar
  66. R Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  67. Ryan MG, Binkley D, Fownes JH, Giardina CP, Senock RS (2004) An experimental test of the causes of forest growth decline with stand age. Ecol Monogr 74:393–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Ryan MG, Phillips N, Bond BJ (2006) The hydraulic limitation hypothesis revisited. Plant, Cell and Environment 29:367–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Ryan MG, Yoder BJ (1997) Hydraulic limits to tree height and tree growth: what keeps trees from growing beyond a certain height? BioScience 47:235–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sillett SC, Van Pelt R, Koch GW, Ambrose AR, Carroll AL, Antoine ME, Mifsud BM (2010) Increasing wood production through old age in tall trees. For Ecol Manag 259:976–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Socha J, Pierzchalski M, Bałazy R, Ciesielski M (2017) Modelling top height growth and site index using repeated laser scanning data. For Ecol Manag 406:307–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Stephenson NL, Das AJ, Condit R, Russo SE, Baker PJ, Beckman NG, Coomes DA, Lines ER, Morris WK, Rüger N, Álvarez E, Blundo C, Bunyavejchewin S, Chuyong G, Davies SJ, Duque Á, Ewango CN, Flores O, Franklin JF, Grau HR, Hao Z, Harmon ME, Hubbell SP, Kenfack D, Lin Y, Makana JR, Malizia A, Malizia LR, Pabst RJ, Pongpattananurak N, Su SH, Sun IF, Tan S, Thomas D, van Mantgem PJ, Wang X, Wiser SK, Zavala MA (2014) Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size. Nature 507:90–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sumida A, Ito H, Isagi Y (1997) Trade-off between height growth and stem diameter growth for an evergreen oak, Quercus glauca, in a mixed hardwood forest. Funct Ecol 11:300–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sumida A, Miyaura T, Torii H (2013) Relationships of tree height and diameter at breast height revisited: analyses of stem growth using 20-year data of an even-aged Chamaecyparis obtusa stand. Tree Physiol 33:106–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Thomas SC, Martin AR, Mycroft EE (2015) Tropical trees in a wind-exposed island ecosystem: height-diameter allometry and size at onset of maturity. J Ecol 103:594–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Trouvé R, Bontemps J-D, Seynave I, Collet C, Lebourgeois F (2015) Stand density, tree social status and water stress influence allocation in height and diameter growth of Quercus petraea (Liebl.). Tree Physiol 35:1035–1046CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. USDA (1999) Soil taxonomy. A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. 2nd Edition. Agriculture Handbook Number 436Google Scholar
  78. van Laar A, Akca A (2008) Forest Mensuration. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  79. Wang X, Yu D, Wang S, Lewis BJ, Zhou W, Zhou L, Dai L, Lei J-P, Li M-H (2017) Tree height-diameter relationships in the alpine treeline ecotone compared with those in closed forests on Changbai Mountain, northeastern China. Forests 8:132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wareing PF, Seth K (1967) Ageing and senescence in the whole plant. Symp Soc Exp Biol 21:543–558PubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. Weiner J, Thomas SC (2001) The nature of tree growth and the "age-related decline in forest productivity". Oikos 94:374–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. West GB, Brown JH, Enquist BJ (1999) A general model for the structure and allometry of plant vascular systems. Nature 400:664–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Woodruff DR, Bond BJ, Meinzer FC (2004) Does turgor limit growth in tall trees? Plant, Cell and Environment 27:229–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Woolhouse HW (1972) Ageing processes in higher plants. Oxford University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  85. Yoder BJ, Ryan MG, Waring RH, Schoettl AW, Kaufmann MR (1994) Evidence of reduced photosynthetic rates in old trees. For Sci 40:513–527Google Scholar
  86. Zens MS, Webb CO (2002) Sizing up the shape of life. Science 295:1475–1476CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di AgrariaUniversità Mediterranea di Reggio CalabriaReggio CalabriaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Agricoltura, Ambiente e AlimentiUniversità degli Studi del MoliseCampobassoItaly

Personalised recommendations