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Anamorphic Site Index Curves for Central Appalachian Red Spruce in West Virginia, USA

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Yetter, Eric ; Brown, John ; Chhin, Sophan

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Traditional site index curves are frequently produced for shade-intolerant species but are scarce for shade-tolerant species. Red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) can be found in three distinct geographic regions (northern, central, and southern) within the Appalachian Mountains. The one commonly used set of red spruce site index curves is over ninety years old. A definite need exists for a modern, regionally applicable set of site index curves. This research sampled 83 plots randomly located in the central Appalachians of West Virginia. Three sets of anamorphic site index curves were created after careful examination of height models built using Chapman-Richards and Meyer functions. One set of curves was constructed with traditional age height pairs. The second utilized a suppression-corrected age and height pair. The third set examined diameter at breast height (DBH) and height pairs. Fit statistics indicated better performance for the suppression-corrected age–height pair site index and the DBH–height pair site index versus the traditional age–height pair models. Site index conversion equations were also investigated for the red spruce age-corrected site index. Linear regression was used to determine significant geographic and climate variables and the utility of including site index values for red maple (Acer rubrum L.) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) in the model to predict red spruce site index. Significant models were found for varying combinations of species site index, climate, and geographic variables with R2adj in the range of 0.139–0.455. These new site index curves and conversion equations should provide utility for site productivity estimation and growth and yield modeling while aiding in restoration efforts for this important central Appalachian species.


climate; dendrochronology; red spruce; restoration; site index


Yetter, Eric; Brown, John; Chhin, Sophan. 2021. Anamorphic Site Index Curves for Central Appalachian Red Spruce in West Virginia, USA. Forests. 12(1): 94. 13 p.

Last updated on: November 9, 2021