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The structure of single- and mixed-species, second-growth stands of Western hemlock and Western redcedar

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Title: The structure of single- and mixed-species, second-growth stands of Western hemlock and Western redcedar
Author: Klinka, Karel; Varga, Pal; Montigny, Louise E. M. de; Chourmouzis, Christine
Subject Keywords Diameter distribution;Forest canopies;Forest productivity;Height distribution;Mixed-species stands;Single-species stands;Second-growth stands;Stand structure;Stratified canopies;Tree crowns;Tree growth;West coast hemlock;Western hemlock;Western redcedar
Issue Date: 2001
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2008-04-16
Publisher Forest Sciences Department, University of British Columbia
Series/Report no. Scientia Silvica extension series, 1209-952X, no. 35
Abstract: The structure of a forest stand is characterized by: (a) species composition, (b) age, (c) size (diameter and height), and (d) spatial (horizontal and vertical) arrangement of the trees. Depending on the species, site, and disturbance history, the stand structure varies with time, thus providing a snapshot of a particular development stage. Research on growth and stand structure has shown that the spatial distribution of trees is one of the key determinants of stand productivity. Forest inventories and ecological surveys carried out in British Columbia (BC) have shown that the structure of naturally established, unmanaged stands varies from simple (single-species, single-storied, and even-aged) to complex (multi-species, multi-storied, and uneven-aged). Only a few studies have quantitatively characterized this range of structural complexity, with nearly all studies focusing on old-growth stands. BC forest policy requires that harvested areas be regenerated with a mixture of tree species whenever a mixture is suited to the site. This policy is based upon the assumption that under appropriate conditions, increases in stand productivity, reliability, and/or biodiversity can be attained in mixed-species stands. This assumption has not yet been tested for forest ecosystems. One mechanism by which different tree species can reduce crown competition for light is through vertical separation (the development of multiple canopy strata). Canopy stratification is not easily recognized in mixed-species stands, particularly when species have similar shade tolerance and height growth patterns, and no quantitative methods have been developed to detect stratification. The diameter frequency distribution of two-storied stands have been characterized by inverted J-shaped as well as modal curves. Although it would be more appropriate to characterize stand structure by height frequency distributions, these distributions have not been developed. We suggest that (i) a stand is stratified if there are distinct, quantitatifiable modes in the size distribution; either diameter, height, or crown height, and (ii) height or crown height distributions will be the most sensitive measures. To characterize the structure of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) (Hw) and western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don in Lamb.) (Cw) second-growth stands, and to investigate its influence on tree growth, we (1) described and compared size (diameter, height, and crown height) frequency distributions in single- and mixed-species stands, (2) determined whether mixed-species stands develop a stratified canopy, and (3) examined whether interactions between hemlock and redcedar affect tree growth.
Affiliation: Forest Sciences, Dept of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/708
Peer Review Status: Peer-Reviewed

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