Research article

Elliptic Fourier analysis of crown shapes in Quercus petraea trees

Ovidiu Hâruţa

Ovidiu Hâruţa
University of Oradea 26 Bd. Gen. Magheru, 0259412550, Oradea, Romania. Email: standdyn@yahoo.com

Online First: February 03, 2011
Hâruţa, O. 2011. Elliptic Fourier analysis of crown shapes in Quercus petraea trees. Annals of Forest Research 54(1): 99-117.


Shape is a fundamental morphological descriptor, significant in taxonomic research as well as in ecomorphology, one method of estimation being from digitally processed images. In the present study, were analysed shapes of Q. petraea crowns, pertaining to five different stem diameter classes, from three similar stands. Based on measurements on terrestrial digital vertical photos, crown size analysis was performed and correlations between crown and stem variables were tested. Linear regression equations between crown volumes and dbh, and crown volumes and stem volumes were derived, explaining more than half of data variability. Employment of elliptic Fourier analysis (EFA), a powerful analysis tool, permitted the extraction of the mean shape from crowns, characterized by high morphological variability. The extracted, most important, coefficients were used to reconstruct the average shape of the crowns, using Inverse Fourier Transform. A mean shape of the crown, corresponding to stand conditions in which competition is added as influential shaping factor, aside genetic program of the species, is described for each stem diameter class. Crown regions with highest shape variability, from the perspective of stage development of the trees, were determined. Accordingly, the main crown shape characteristics are: crown elongation, centroid position, asymmetry with regard to the main axis, lateral regions symmetrical and asymmetrical variations. 

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