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Title: When is one core per tree sufficient to characterize stand attributes? Results of a Pinus ponderosa case study
Author: Woodall, C.W.
Publication: Tree-Ring Research. 64(1): 55-60.
Key Words: ponderosa pine, increment cores, sapwood, growth, Pinus ponderosa
Abstract: Increment cores are invaluable for assessing tree attributes such as inside bark diameter, radial growth, and sapwood area. However, because trees accrue growth and sapwood unevenly around their pith, tree attributes derived from one increment core may not provide sufficient precision for forest management/research activities. To assess the variability in a tree's inside bark radius, sapwood radius, and 10-year radial growth estimated by tree cores, two increment cores at 90 degree angles were collected from ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) trees in eastern Montana (n = 2,156). Paired core measurements varied substantially with 13% mean difference for inside bark radius, 19% mean difference for sapwood radius, and 23% mean difference for estimates of radial increment. Furthermore, decreasing crown ratio, decreasing diameter, and increasing site slope were all found to increase differences in estimates derived from paired cores. Whether for management or research purposes, the number of cores that should collected per tree depend on a stand's susceptibility to reaction wood, required measurement precision, and budgetary constraints.
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