Study finds no evidence for fractal scaling in canopy surfaces across a diverse range of forest types

By The University of Bristol
January 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The complexity of forests cannot be explained by simple mathematical rules, a study finds. …Nature is full of surprising repetitions. In trees, the large branches often look like entire trees, while smaller branches and twigs look like the larger branches they grow from. …It has long been assumed that this property, called fractality, also applies to entire forests but researchers from the University of Bristol have found that this is not the case. The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, refutes claims that the self-similarity which is observed within individual trees can be extended to whole forest canopies and landscapes. Lead author Dr. Fabian Fischer said, “…if we cannot understand the forest from its trees, and vice versa, then we must monitor forests both at small and large scales to understand how they respond to climatic changes and growing human pressure.”

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