45 Social class
Social status is a measure of the height of a tree relative to the surrounding trees. Information on social status is useful as an aid to interpreting crown condition and increment data for the individual trees.
Five classes are recognized.
The assessment of the social class of a tree is in some cases difficult.
Suppressed trees should not be equated with dying trees as, in a mixed-age stand, they represent future generations of trees.
Classification on steep slopes presents a problem as even relatively short trees may receive direct light from above. In such cases, classification should be based on the relative height of the trees.
Illustration of social status classes (crown canopy classes) after Kraft:
(1 = dominant, 2 = codominant, 3 = subdominant, 4 = suppressed, 5 = dying)