Competition among trees is a fundamental interaction process within plant community, which is the theoretical basis of thinning. Plant competitive intensity is generally measured using a competition index (CI) that can be classified into two major categories: distance-independent and distance-dependent. The current study used Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook as the test subject and used Hegyi's CI (distance-dependent), to quantify individual CI and their relationship with tree diameter at breast height (DBH). Five different criteria were used to select potential competitors for the calculation of CI. Seven basic linear and nonlinear mathematical functions were used to test and quantify the relationships between DBH of the target tree and the individual CI. Results showed that individual CI was negatively correlated with target tree DBH: as DBH increased, competition intensity weakened. The adjusted R2 with five different criteria of selection competitors simulated by seven functions ranged from 0.30 to 0.82. Considering the root mean square error (RMSE), P-value, and adjusted-R2, our results suggested that the best model to simulate the relationship between individual CI and focal tree DBH was power function (CI = 43.98 × DBH-1.08, adjusted R2 = 0.81) and with the Voronoi diagram method as the criteria for selecting competitors. These results can demonstrate a clearer understanding of the spatial structure of forests, and can be used to guide the selection of thinning trees in the process of thinning practice.
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Vol. 67 • No. 1