Allometry of a neotropical palm, Euterpe edulis Mart.

Alometria de uma palmeira Neotropical, Euterpe edulis Mart

Luciana F. Alves Fernando R. Martins Flavio A.M. Santos About the authors

The stem allometry (stem diameter vs. tree height) of a Neotropical palm (Euterpe edulis) found in rain and seasonal forest of Southeastern Brazil was examined. Observed height-diameter relationships along the stem (diameter at ground level, (dgl), and diameter at breast height (dbh) were compared to three theoretical stability mechanical models: elastic similarity, stress similarity and geometric similarity. Slopes of log-transformed height-diameter relationships did not lie near those predicted by any stability mechanical models. Significant differences in stem allometry were found when comparing dgl to dbh, suggesting greater increase in dbh with height. The relationship between stability safety factor (SSF) and palm height showed that both dgl and dbh were found to be above McMahon's theoretical buckling limit for dicotyledonous trees, but some individuals approached this limit in relation to dbh. Despite displaying a similar decreasing pattern of SSF with height, differences found in SSF along the stem - greater SSF for dgl when compared to dbh - indicate that the risk of mechanism failure in palms depends upon the size and varies along the stem. Distinct allometric relationships along the stem obtained for Euterpe edulis may be reflecting possible differences in stem design and growth strategies.

stability safety factor; risk of buckling; mechanical instability; tropical semideciduous forest; Brazil

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