The effects of initial tree spacing on wood density at breast height were examined for 22-year-old Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi). The experiment involved the use of three plots with different initial tree spacing densities (300, 500, and 1000 trees/ha). For five trees selected from each plot, the total tree height, diameter at breast height, height to the base of the live crown, and crown diameter were measured. Ring width and wood density for individual growth rings were determined by X-ray densitometry. A mixed-effects model was applied for fitting the radial variation in wood density in relation to initial spacing. Models having various mean and covariance structures were tested in devising an appropriate wood density model. The model, consisting of the mean structure with quadratic age effects and heterogeneous first-order autoregressive covariance, was able to describe the radial variation in wood density. Closer spacing of trees (1000 trees/ha) resulted in a faster increase in wood density from the pith outward than for more widely spaced trees, indicating that initial tree spacing may influence the age of transition from juvenile to mature wood.
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