Allometry of Tree Crown Structure. Relevance for Space Occupation at the Individual Plant Level and for Self-Thinning at the Stand Level

  • H. PretzschEmail author
  • C. Matthew
  • J. Dieler
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 220)


This chapter starts with the geometric and metabolic scaling theory which predicts stable scaling relations between trunk and crown dimensions for the allometric ideal plant and constant slopes for the self-thinning process on stand level. Empirical works in contrast evidence crown plasticity and species-specific self-thinning slopes. In order to link theory and empiricism we first draw attention on the intra-specific variation of crown scaling exponents in dependency on stand density, intra-, and inter-specific competition, and on relationships between scaling exponents. Second, we analyze the differences of crown scaling between Norway spruce and European beech as well as between the groups of gymnosperm and angiosperm species. Third, we draw attention on the relevance of scaling relationships for space occupation and stand dynamics. Finally we discuss the findings in view of the allometric theory, their implications for space occupation at the individual plant level and for self-thinning at the stand level.


Pure Stand European Beech Crown Volume Allometric Exponent Space Occupation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to thank the German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) for providing the funds for forest growth and yield research as part of the Collaborative Research Centre 607 (Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 607) “Growth and Parasite Defense” and the Bavarian State Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry for permanent support of the project W 07 “Long-term experimental plots for forest growth and yield research”. Thanks are also due to Gerhard Schütze for support of the field work and data processing, to Ulrich Kern for the graphical artwork, and to the reviewers and co-editors for their constructive criticism and comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Forest Growth and Yield ScienceTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Natural ResourcesMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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