Analysing changes in spatial point patterns: a proposal using data from a forest thinning experiment


Spatial patterns reveal critical features at the individual and community levels. However, how to evaluate changes in spatial characteristics remains largely unexplored. We assess spatial changes in spatial point patterns by augmenting current statistical functions and indices. We fitted functions to describe unmarked and marked (tree size) spatial patterns using data from a large-scale silvicultural experiment in southern Chile. Furthermore, we compute the mingling index to represent spatial tree diversity. We proffer the pair correlation function difference before and after treatment to detect changes in the unmarked-point pattern of trees and the semivariogram-ratio to evaluate changes in the marked-point pattern. Our research provides a quantitative assessment of a critical aspect of forest heterogeneity: changes in spatial unmarked and marked-point patterns. The proposed approach can be a powerful tool for quantifying the impacts of disturbances and silvicultural treatments on spatial patterns in forest ecosystems.

Forest Ecosystems, 9: 100081.