Managed reforestation: growth rates by tree species over time?

We have tabulated data into the growth rates of over 2,500 trees, in over a dozen locations globally, based on tree ring measurements, reported by the National Center for Environmental Information.

The objective is to assess whether growth rates are faster at younger or older trees, given that biomass accumulation is correlated with tree widths. We find that tree widths continue rising steadily over 100-500 years, with radiuses growing at an average pace around 2mm per year.

However, growth rates are fastest in early years. As a rule of thumb, they will slow down by 25% after 20-years, 40% after 40-years and 50% after 60-years. This may be an argument for forest management and sustainable harvesting as more reforestation projects are undertaken to combat climate change (note here).

Relatively faster growing species tend to remain relatively faster growing even after longer time-frames. This may be an argument for rigorous species selection, as discussed further in our data-file here.

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