Testing the Metabolic Scaling Theory of tree growth

Metabolic Scaling Theory (MST) predicts a ‘universal scaling law’ of tree growth. Proponents claim that MST has strong empirical support: the size-dependent growth curves of 40 out of 45 species in a Costa Rican forest have scaling exponents indistinguishable from the MST prediction. This paper shows the Costa Rican data has been misinterpreted. Using Standardized MajorAxis (SMA) line-fitting to estimate scaling exponents, we find that four out of five species represented have scaling exponents that deviate significantly from the prediction.

Coomes, D.A.; Allen, R.B.