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Environmental Drivers of Succession in Jack Pine Stands of Boreal Ontario: An Application of Survival Analysis

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In this study, we present a quantitative approach to examining species compositional changes in jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.)-dominated forests that combines photo chronosequencing and survival analysis. Study sites (178) were selected from Ontario's Growth and Yield Permanent Sample Plot network and supplemented with archived aerial photographs that captured stand conditions at four additional points in time. Environmental attributes specific to geographic location, topography, soil characteristics, and climate were also used in the analysis. The nonparametric Kaplan-Meier method was used to derive cumulative survival functions, and Cox regression analysis was used to determine the significant environmental factors that resulted in downward shifts in jack pine persistence over time. Only 26% of the stands included in this study were observed to have a pure jack pine canopy during some stage of stand development, with black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.) being the most common associate. Although shifts in species composition occurred in the majority of stands, much of the observed succession was a reflection of differential growth rates and responses to suppression between contemporaneously established populations. Based on the Cox regression model, sites with sloped terrain, sites that had deep sandy soils, and sites that received high precipitation during the growing season all retained high abundances of jack pine over time.
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Keywords: Pinus banksiana; forest succession; photo chronosequence; survival analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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