Trade-offs between tree investment in primary and secondary growth are species- and environment-dependent

They say you’re an adult when you stop growing up and start growing out. Trees do both, investing in primary growth, height, and secondary growth, diameter. Effort put into growing up means there are fewer resources for growing out, so how do trees allocate resources for growth?

Site locations in a tree growth survey
Site locations in this survey. Image by Franceschini et al 2016.

Franceschini et al. explored the trade-off between primary and secondary growth by considering simultaneously the allometric exponents relating height to diameter at breast height (γh,dbh) and stem volume to diameter at breast height (αv,dbh) obtained from an 8893 stem analysis across North-Eastern America. They give evidence that the species growth strategies differed between conifers and broadleaves with respect to the mode of development. These results have important implications for quantifying future carbon stocks in managed forests.

Reference List

T. Franceschini, O. Martin-Ducup, R. Schneider, 2016, 'Allometric exponents as a tool to study the influence of climate on the trade-off between primary and secondary growth in major north-eastern American tree species', Annals of Botany, vol. 117, no. 4, pp. 551-563