Objective index for the radial distribution of low-order lateral tree roots

T. N. Brown, D. Kulasiri, R. E. Gaunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An objective index describing the radial "evenness" of lateral tree roots has been developed. The index may be applied on the basis of root length or mass or image analysis of root quantity. Unevenness, defined as deviation from a perfectly uniform root distribution, is weighted according to the scale at which it occurs, with unevenness between halves or quarters of the root system receiving more weight than unevenness between sixteenths or thirty-seconds. A sliding frame of reference eliminates the problem of rotational dependence in the initial positioning of the "grid" used to count roots. For practical application the index requires a computer-readable root map, either from a field root-mapping exercise, or from digitised pictures of the exposed root system. Agreement between evenness rankings from visual inspection and from the index is generally excellent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-420
Number of pages8
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Forestry Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


  • Morphology
  • Root distribution
  • Tree architecture


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