We investigated tree sway and crown collision behavior of even-aged lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm.) stands of different structure in Alberta, Canada, to examine how these factors might affect loss of leaf area as stands mature. The Two Creeks stand (TC) had high density and slender trees, while the Chickadee stand (CH) had stout trees. The TC stand was then thinned (TCT) to reduce the stand density. For each stand, simultaneous tree sways of a group of 10 trees were monitored with biaxial clinometers during wind speed of 5 m/s (canopy top). Crown collisions were reconstructed by combining sway displacement of individual trees with their respective crown dimensions. Comparing the sway statistics between stands with contrasting mean bole slenderness (TC and CH) indicated that more slender trees have greater sway displacements, faster sway speeds, and a greater depth of collision. Disturbance by thinning increased sway displacements, sway speeds, and depth of collisions at TCT. Tree sway patterns were circular in shape and not aligned with wind direction, but patterns were elongated after thinning. This demonstrates the high frequency of crown collision experienced by stands with slender trees and supports the notion that crown collisions result in empty space between crowns of trees.
Rudnicki, Mark; Lieffers, Victor J.; and Silins, Uldis, "Stand Structure Governs the Crown Collisions of Lodgepole Pine" (2003). Department of Natural Resources and the Environment Articles. Paper 1.