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New scientific article from OptFor-EU: Modelling branch surface area of Picea abies [L.] Karst

We are glad to announce the publication of our firts scientific article, authored by the OptFor-EU partner BOKU on the journal Taylor and Francis. The paper presents the development of allometric models to estimate the total surface area of over 3000 branches, as well as their number and diameters.

Allometric models based on limited sub-samples are widely used for predicting forest-scale information. In this article, the authors develop allometric models for the branch surface area of the widespread conifer species Picea abies [L.] Karst. Branch surface area is a proxy for the capacity of tree branches to intercept and store water and air pollutants. Based on “probability proportional to size” sampling, the authors measured the surface area for 285 branches and then calculated the branch surface area of 30 trees (and their 3298 branches). They developed allometric models to estimate the total surface area of branches, as well as their number and diameters, for trees across a range of diameters (DBH), heights, and crown ratios (CR). The analysis shows that DBH and CR play significant roles in branch characteristics. The branch surface area was linearly related to the stand basal area. Reducing stand density will proportionally reduce interception capacity. The approach outlined here may help stimulate further studies (more species, regions, and management practices) required to optimize stand density for ecosystem services related to crown characteristics, such as hydrology, forage quality, and quantity or capacity for air pollutants.