Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Methods of modelling relative growth rate

Pommerening, Arne; Muszta, Anders


Background: Analysing and modelling plant growth is an important interdisciplinary field of plant science. The useof relative growth rates, involving the analysis of plant growth relative to plant size, has more or less independentlyemerged in different research groups and at different times and has provided powerful tools for assessing thegrowth performance and growth efficiency of plants and plant populations. In this paper, we explore how theseisolated methods can be combined to form a consistent methodology for modelling relative growth rates.
Methods: We review and combine existing methods of analysing and modelling relative growth rates and applya combination of methods to Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) stem-analysis data from North Wales (UK)and British Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) yield table data.
Results: The results indicate that, by combining the approaches of different plant-growth analysis laboratories andusing them simultaneously, we can advance and standardise the concept of relative plant growth. Particularly thegrowth multiplier plays an important role in modelling relative growth rates. Another useful technique has beenthe recent introduction of size-standardised relative growth rates.
Conclusions: Modelling relative growth rates mainly serves two purposes, 1) an improved analysis of growthperformance and efficiency and 2) the prediction of future or past growth rates. This makes the concept of relativegrowth ideally suited to growth reconstruction as required in dendrochronology, climate change and forest declineresearch and for interdisciplinary research projects beyond the realm of plant science.


Growth efficiency; Growth coefficient/multiplier; Chapman-Richards growth model; Standardisation; Simultaneous estimations

Published in

Forest Ecosystems
2015, volume: 2, article number: 5

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Muszta, Anders
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)