Modelling landscape-level vegetation dynamics in the boreal forests of northwestern Ontario

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Watson, Paul R.
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Successional trends in the boreal forest have been inferred using two approaches: (i) analysis of size and/or age class distributions of trees, and species vital attributes; (ii) enumeration of stands at different ages. The first approach assumes that mortality, natality and growth rates, and life-history strategies, are similar between species. The second approach is restricted to self regenerating, monodominant forests and assumes that the reconstructed successional trends are not confounded by intersite environmental variation. The objective of this study was to develop a succession (vegetation dynamics) model for the boreal forests of northwest Ontario using these two approaches. The data used in this study were collected between 1983 and 1988 as part of the North Western Ontario Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) project. A total of 1389 plots enumerated within the ca. 184,000 km$\sp2$ study area were retained for further analysis. Percent cover estimates were obtained for all vascular plants and terricolous cryptograms species within 10 x 10 m plots. Tree and shrub cover were separately enumerated in four height-based vegetation strara. In addition, extensive edaphic data were collected within each plot. An analysis was undertaken to ascertain vegetation-environment relationships and soil variable redundancy. In addition, a synoptic stand dynamic model for the boreal forests of northwestern Ontario was developed. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)