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Demography and spatial dynamics in balsam fir stands after a spruce budworm outbreak

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The renewal of balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) P. Mill.) stands is related to the recurrent spruce budworm (Archips fumiferana Clemens [syn.: Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens)]) outbreaks that favour the growth of the regeneration following death of the dominant trees. The aim of this study was to investigate the population demography and the spatial relationships among individuals in four permanent plots of the boreal forest of Quebec, Canada, after a spruce budworm outbreak. This was realized by collecting data on trees and saplings every five years from 1994 to 2004 and by using Ripley’s K statistics. The younger plots showed recruitment of up to 90 new trees·ha–1·year–1, and mortality following competition among individuals affected up to 27% and 50% of the trees and saplings, respectively. In the plot with the lowest tree density, sapling recruitment was estimated as 378 new individuals·ha–1·year–1. Saplings were aggregated at all spatial scales, whereas trees showed a random pattern of stem distribution. A significant tendency to separation between saplings and trees was observed. The specific stand dynamics observed in balsam fir are connected to an abundant advance regeneration and an age-dependent competition for resources in a heterogeneous environment with different levels of resource availability.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x11-037

Publication date: May 28, 2011

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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