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Unveiling the diversity of tree growth patterns in boreal old-growth forests reveals the richness of their dynamics

Martin Maxence, Krause Cornelia, Fenton Nicole J. et Morin Hubert. (2020). Unveiling the diversity of tree growth patterns in boreal old-growth forests reveals the richness of their dynamics. Forests, 11, (3), p. 1-18.

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Research Highlights: Radial growth patterns of trees growing in old-growth boreal forests in eastern Canada can be grouped into a small number of simple patterns that are specific to different old-growth forest types or successional stages.

Background and Objectives: Identifying the main radial growth trends in old-growth forests could help to develop silvicultural treatments that mimic the complex dynamics of old-growth forests. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the main radial growth patterns and determine how their frequencies change during forest succession in old-growth forests, focusing on boreal landscapes in eastern Canada.

Materials and Methods: We used dendrochronological data sampled from 21 old-growth stands in the province of Quebec, Canada. Tree-ring chronologies were simplified into chronologies of equal length to retain only primary growth trends. We used k-means clustering to identify individual growth patterns and the difference in growth-pattern frequency within the studied stands. We then used non-parametric analyses of variance to compare tree or stand characteristics among the clusters.

Results: We identified six different growth patterns corresponding to four old-growth forest types, from stands at the canopy breakup stage to true old-growth stands (i.e., when all the pioneer cohort had disappeared). Secondary disturbances of low or moderate severity drove these growth patterns. Overall, the growth patterns were relatively simple and could be generally separated into two main phases (e.g., a phase of limited radial increment size due to juvenile suppression and a phase of increased radial increment size following a growth release).

Conclusions: The complexity of old-growth forest dynamics was observed mainly at the stand level, not at the tree level. The growth patterns observed in true old-growth forests were similar to those observed following partial or stem-selection cuts in boreal stands; thus, these silvicultural treatments may be effective in mimicking old-growth dynamics.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Pages:p. 1-18
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Date:25 Février 2020
Sujets:Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences naturelles > Biologie et autres sciences connexes
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences fondamentales
Mots-clés:overmature, succession, dendrochronology, growth release, primary forest, ecosystem-based management, close-to-nature silviculture, machine-learning, clustering
Déposé le:04 mars 2020 20:42
Dernière modification:04 mars 2020 20:42
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