Variant scaling relationship for mass-density across tree-dominated communities

Hai Tao Li, Xing Guo Han, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The past few decades have seen a resurgence of interest in biological allometry. Specifically, a number of recent studies has suggested a -4/3 invariant scaling relationship between mass and density that is universally valid for tree-dominated communities, regardless of their phyletic affiliation or habitat. In the present study, we test this scaling relationship using a comprehensive forest biomass database, including 1 266 plots of six biomes and 17 forest types across China. The present study shows that the scaling exponent of the mass-density relationship varies across different tree-dominated communities and habitats. This great variability in the scaling exponent makes any generalization unwarranted. Although inappropriate regression methods can lead to flawed estimation of the scaling exponent, inconsistency of theoretical framework and empirical patterns may have undermined the validity of previous work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-277
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Integrative Plant Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Allometry
  • Mass-density
  • Scaling relationship
  • Trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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