Trees have commonly been thought to have a lifetime growth pattern similar to humans: rapid growth early in life followed by declining growth later in life. Our global analysis instead shows that tree growth rate increases continuously with tree size and age. In a single year a giant tree can bulk up by adding the amount of mass that would be found in an entire mid-sized tree.
Nate Stephenson is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, working for 35 years at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. He studies the effects of rapid global changes on forests, and how land managers can adapt to an uncertain, but certainly unprecedented, future. Nate is steward of the world’s longest-running annual-resolution forest dynamics data set, a network of 30 plots now in its 33nd year which has followed the fates of some 28,000 trees.