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    Stand density index (SDI) was developed to quantify relative stand density in even-aged stands. Application of SDI in uneven-aged stands has been described mathematically but not justified biologically. Diameter-class trends in SDI and sapwood area across 14 uneven-aged ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex P. & C. Laws.) stands in eastern Montana were examined to elucidate the biological underpinnings of the SDI summation method. Results indicate that the SDI summation method is biased in its apportionment of relative stand density across diameter classes in uneven-aged ponderosa pine stands. SDI apportions greater relative density to small trees than to larger ones. Therefore, SDI may overpredict site occupancy for reverse J-shaped diameter distributions with more small trees than large ones, and it may underpredict occupancy with nonreverse J-shaped diameter distributions. Application of the SDI summation method in uneven-aged ponderosa pine stands may be biologically justified only if site occupancy - diameter class trends are taken into account when interpreting SDI values. Replacing the self-thinning scaling factor of the SDI summation method with more biologically relevant scaling relationships may create improved relative density measures for uneven-aged stands.

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    Woodall, C.W.; Fiedler, C.E.; Milner, K.S. 2003. Stand density index in uneven-aged ponderosa pine stands. Can. J. For. Res. 33: 96-100 (2003)


    Ponderosa pine, (Pinus ponderosa Dougl., Montana, stand density index, site occupency

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