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Forest management recommendation based on q factor approach

Introduction:

One of the main challenges with practicing uneven aged silviculture world wide is to regulate
its stocking and to maintain the stand structure in stable equilibrium. To manage the uneven
forest, different forest scientists and professionals had long been attempting to establish the
standard of check method for regulation of density in such stands.

The q factor approach is one of the most applied silvicultural guideline for regulating the
stocking of uneven aged forest world wide particularly in North America. The q factor is the
ratio of stem numbers in one size (DBH) class to the stem numbers in the next larger size
(DBH) class. It was first discovered by F. De Liocourt and since then was known as De
Liocourt’s law. However, many scientists including Meyer (1933)

Kerr (2001) and Cancino and Gadow (2002) have worked out equations or spreadsheet
calculation methods for this. As a partial work (10% of group assignment), this paper aims at
finding out the ideal stem per hectare (SPH) distribution by DBH classes for Coed Dolgarrog
slope assuming that the inventoried data represents the forest.
The standard equation for number of stem in any particular DBH class is given by:

N i = k0 ⋅ e − k1 ⋅di 1
Where,
k0,k1 are coefficients
di is mid-point of the diameter class
Ni is number of trees per diameter class;
and as defined above the q factor is given by:
N i + 1 , where
q =
N i

Ni is the number of trees in one diameter class, and


Ni+1 is the number of trees in the next larger diameter class

1
All formulae copied and pasted from www.bangor.ac.uk/blackboard
Methods
This paper adopted the concept of ideal SPH distribution over size class calculation as
suggested by Kerr (2001) and Cancino and Gadow (2002). The consecutive steps are briefly
described for the sake of clear understanding:
Step one: Input Variables and assumptions
There are four input variables for calculation of the ideal distribution the DBH class width,
target basal area (m.sq/ha), target DBH (cm) and the q factor. As per the recommendation of
Kerr (2001), the target basal area, target DBH and q factor were assumed to be 30, 50 and
1.3. Similarly, since the DBH class width was 4 in the field inventory data analysis, it was
adhered with this calculation.
π c
Step two: Calculation of Constant K3 by using k3 = ⋅ ∑ q i −1 ⋅ di2 2, Where
40000 i =1

c is the number of diameter classes


q i −1 is the q-factor raised to the power i-1, this calculation assumes the uniform q = 1.3 for

diameter classes for simplicity, therefore, q i −1 =1.3


K3 is calculated to estimate the number of stem in largest (target) diameter class by dividing
the target basal area with k3 constant (described in next step)

Table 1: The calculation of Constant


di i qi-1*di2 di i qi-1*di2
5 12 448.040 33 5 3110.293
9 11 1116.654 37 4 3007.693
13 10 1792.160 41 3 2840.890
17 9 2357.462 45 2 2632.500
21 8 2767.210 49 1 2401.000
25 7 3016.756 53 0 0.000
29 6 3122.574 k3 2.247

Step three: Estimation of N1


The number of the number of stems in target diameter class is calculated by the formula,
BAtarget
N1 = = 30/2.247= 13, therefore there should be 13 number of stem per hectare (SPH;
k3
ref table 2; DBH Class 49).
Step four: Determination of ideal diameter distribution using assumed q factor and N1

2
(Calculated as Cancino and Gadow, 2002; Kerr’s formula for k3 differ from it which yields k3 = 2.58; Ref. q
factor.xls)
The formula, N i = q ⋅ N i − 1 was used to determine the SPH of i th DBH Class; For
example, the number of stem in DBH Class 45 = 1.3 * 13 = 17.

Result and Discussion:


Table 2 shows the result of inventory (real) and ideal distribution of stem per hectare (SPH).
Similarly, the figure 1 illustrates the visual comparison of real (zigzag curve) and ideal
distribution (reverse J shape curve) of SPH over diameter classes.

As evident from the difference (334) of sum of SPH real (632) and SPH ideal (966); the
forest stand is under stocked. The next interpretation of result is that there is crowding of
sapling in DBH class 5, which needs to be removed for competition reduction. Similarly, the
DBH class 29 and 37 shows slight increase over the ideal SPH which technically should be
thinned, however, considering the species (it is Oak), it is better to retain them as seed
bearers because of poor existing regeneration of Oak on the site.

Table 2: Real Inventory +Ideal (equilibrium) data at Dolgarrog Slope

Frequency
DBH (4*15*15 m^2 SPH BA real SPH BA ideal Difference
class Plots) (real) (sq.m/ha) (ideal) (sq.m/ha) in SPH
5 22 244 0.479 233 0.457 -11
9 9 100 0.636 179 1.140 79
13 8 89 1.181 138 1.830 49
17 1 11 0.25 106 2.407 95
21 1 11 0.381 82 2.825 71
25 3 33 1.62 63 3.080 30
29 5 56 3.699 48 3.188 -8
33 3 33 2.822 37 3.176 4
37 3 33 3.548 29 3.071 -4
41 1 11 1.452 22 2.901 11
45 0 0 0 17 2.688 17
49 1 11 2.074 13 2.451 2
53 0 0 0 0 0.000 0
Sum 632 966 334
Figure 1: Ideal and Real Distribution of Stem per ha in Dolgarrog
Forest (Slope)

300

250

200
SPH

Real
150
Ideal

100

50

0
5 9 13 17 21 25 29 33 37 41 45 49 53
DBH classes

Conclusion:
Application of q factor approach to regulate the stocking of uneven aged forest is becoming
wide spread and can be used in Coed Dolgarrog as a silvicultural guideline for stocking
management, control and monitoring. Besides using the SPH, equilibrium basal area
(calculated in the table) or equilibrium growing stock (multiplying form height on basal area)
can also be achieved through this approach.

References:
Cancino, J. and Gadow, K., 2002: Stem number guide curves for uneven-aged forests
development and limitations. In: Gadow, K., Nagel, J. and Saborowski, J. (Eds.), 2002:
Continuous Cover Forestry. Assessment, Analysis, Scenarios. Kluwer Academic
Publishers, Dordrecht, 163-174.
Kerr, G., 2001: An improved spreadsheet to calculate target diameter distributions in
uneven-aged silviculture. Continuous Cover Forestry Group Newsletter 19, 18-20.
www.bangor.ac.uk/blackboard; University of Bangor, Wales’s website, cited on
23/03/2008

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