Spatial analysis of density dependent pattern in coniferous forest stands

Janet Franklin, Joel Michaelsen, Alan H. Strahler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


An investigation of spatial pattern in relatively sparse Pinus ponderosa-P. Jeffreyi stands showed that a simple Poisson model of random distribution described the pattern at 5 to 50 m scales in the denser stands examined when allowance is made for inhibition between nearest neighbors. There is evidence for a clumped distribution in large quadrats for the sparsest stands, which concurs with prior work where a mixed Poisson model was fit to the data. The technique used was innovative in that it involved digitally recording tree locations from high resolution aerial photos, which allowed for the automatic application of several statistical techniques in order to determine how pattern varies with plot density and scale. Point locations were recorded for six 11.3 ha plots in three density regions of a 340 ha study area in northeastern California, USA. The inter-event distance distribution, and one- and two-dimensional power spectra were calculated, and variable quadrat analysis was performed for the data sets. The second order and spectral analyses showed no evidence of a distinctive clumped pattern at any scale, and all analyses showed that the pattern was regular at the scale of the average inter-plant distance in the denser stands. For the sparser stands, the counts in large quadrats did not fit a Poisson distribution, but were better fit by a mixed Poisson model describing aggregated pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1985


  • Coniferous forest
  • Multi-scaled pattern
  • Nearest neighbor distance
  • Pattern
  • Quadrat variance analysis
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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