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Unlocking the forest inventory data: relating individual tree performance to unmeasured environmental factorsAuthor(s): Jeremy W. Lichstein; Jonathan Dushoff; Kiona Ogle; Anping Chen; Drew W. Purves; John P. Caspersen; Stephen W. Pacala
Source: Ecological Applications. 20(3): 684-699
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionGeographically extensive forest inventories, such as the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program, contain millions of individual tree growth and mortality records that could be used to develop broad-scale models of forest dynamics. A limitation of inventory data, however, is that individual-level measurements of light (L) and other environmental factors are typically absent. Thus, inventory data alone cannot be used to parameterize mechanistic models of forest dynamics in which individual performance depends on light, water, nutrients, etc. To overcome this limitation, we developed methods to estimate species-specific parameters relating sapling growth (G) to L using data sets in which G, but not L, is observed for each sapling. Our approach should be useful for estimating light-dependent growth functions from inventory data that lack direct measurements of L. This approach could be extended to estimate parameters relating sapling mortality to L from inventory data, as well as to deal with uncertainty in other resources (e.g., water or nutrients) or environmental factors (e.g., temperature).
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CitationLichstein, Jeremy W.; Dushoff, Jonathan; Ogle, Kiona; Chen, Anping; Purves, Drew W.; Caspersen, John P.; Pacala, Stephen W. 2010. Unlocking the forest inventory data: relating individual tree performance to unmeasured environmental factors. Ecological Applications. 20(3): 684-699.
Keywordsecoinformatics, environmental data, growth, tree measurements, inventory
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