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    Size-density metrics are used extensively for silvicultural planning; however, they operate on biological assumptions that remain relatively untested. Using data from 12 even-aged stands of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) growing in southern New Hampshire, we compared size-density metrics with stand productivity and its biological components, including leaf area index (LAI) and measures of crown morphology. Density indices included Reineke's stand density index (SDI), a -3/2 relative density law, and trees per hectare. We examined models with and without site index and stand age as components, to predict total stand accretion (PAI). LAI, and growth efficiency (GE). LAI was a strong linear predictor of PAI (R2 = 0.89). However, of the indices tested only SDI was a significant predictor of accretion, and none were significantly related to LAI or GE. Site index was not a significant predictor of any variable when used alone, but in combination with SDI and stand age did lead to significant relationships with PAI (R2 = 0.84), LAI (R2 = 0.67), and GE (R2 = 0.92). Of the density indices tested only trees per hectare was strongly correlated with crown attributes. These results demonstrate that size-density metrics combined with other stand attributes are reasonably correlated with biological measures of stand growth.

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    Innes, J. C.; Ducey, M. J.; Gove, J. H.; Leak, W. B.; Barrett, J. P. 2005. Size-density metrics, leaf area, and productivity in eastern white pine. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35:2469-2478

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