Variation in individual biomass decreases faster than mean biomass with increasing density of bamboo stands
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The total biomass of a stand is an indicator of stand productivity and is closely related to the density of plants. According to the self-thinning law, mean individual biomass follows a negative power law with plant density. If the variance of individual biomass is constant, we can expect increased stand productivity with increasing plant density. However, Taylor's power law (TPL) that relates the variance and the mean of many biological measures (e.g. bilateral areal differences of a leaf, plant biomass at different times, developmental rates at different temperatures, population densities on different spatial or temporal scales), affects the estimate of stand productivity when it is defined as the total biomass of large plants in a stand. Because the variance of individual biomass decreases faster than mean individual biomass, differences in individual biomass decline with increasing density, leading to more homogeneous timbers of greater economic value. We tested whether TPL in plant biomass holds for different species and whether the variance of individual biomass changes faster than the mean with increasing stand density. The height, ground diameter and fresh weight of 50 bamboo species were measured in 50 stands ranging from 1 m by 1 m to 30 m by 30 m to ensure more than 150 bamboos in every stand. We separately examined TPL in height, ground diameter, and weight, and found that TPL holds for all three biological measures, with the relationship strongest for weight. Using analysis of covariance to compare the regression slopes of logarithmic mean and variance against the logarithm of density, we found that the variance in individual biomass declined faster than the mean with increasing density. This suggests that dense planting reduced mean individual biomass but homogenized individual biomass. Thus, there exists a trade-off between effective stand productivity and stand density for optimal forest management. Sparse planting leads to large variation in individual biomass, whereas dense planting reduces mean individual biomass. Consequently, stand density for a plantation should be set based on this trade-off with reference to market demands.
- RESEARCH: Hui C