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    Description

    Indicators of forest health used in previous studies have focused on crown variables analyzed individually at the tree level by summarizing over all species. This approach has the virtue of simplicity but does not account for the three-dimensional attributes of a tree crown, the multivariate nature of the crown variables, or variability among species. To alleviate these difficulties, we define composite crown indicators based on geometric principles to better quantify the entire tree crown. These include crown volume, crown surface area, and crown production efficiency. These indicators were then standardized to a mean of 0 and variance of 1 to enable direct comparison among species. Residualized indicators, which can also be standardized, were defined as the deviation from a regression model that adjusted for tree and plot conditions. Distributional properties were examined for the three composite crown indicators and their standardized-residualized counterparts for 6167 trees from 250 permanent plots distributed across Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. Comparisons between the composite crown indicators and their associated standardized residual indicators revealed that only two or three plots were jointly classified as poor by both when thresholds were set at the lower 5 percentiles of statistical distributions. In contrast, 19-21 other plots were classified differently, emphasizing that different aspects of crown condition are being summarized when the raw values are adjusted and standardized. Generally, crown volume and crown surface area behaved similarly, while crown production efficiency was substantially different.

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    Citation

    Zarnoch, Stanley J.; Bechtold, William A.; Stolte, K.W. 2004. Using crown condition variables as indicators of forest health. Can. J. For. Res. 34: 1057-1070

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/6955