Journal Article

Mapping the environmental limitations to growth of coastal Douglas-fir stands on Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Nicholas C. Coops, Sam B. Coggins and Werner A. Kurz

in Tree Physiology

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 805-815
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/27.6.805
Mapping the environmental limitations to growth of coastal Douglas-fir stands on Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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Coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii spp. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) occurs over a wide range of environmental conditions on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Although ecological zones have been drawn, no formal spatial analysis of environmental limitations on tree growth has been carried out. Such an exercise is desirable to identify areas that may warrant intensive management and to evaluate the impacts of predicted climate change this century. We applied a physiologically based forest growth model, 3-PG (Physiological Principles Predicting Growth), to interpret and map current limitations to Douglas-fir growth across Vancouver Island at 100-m cell resolution. We first calibrated the model to reproduce the regional productivity estimates reported in yield table growth curves. Further analyses indicated that slope exposure is important; southwest slopes of 30° receive 40% more incident radiation than similarly inclined northeast slopes. When combined with other environmental differences associated with aspect, the model predicted 60% more growth on southwest exposures than on northeast exposures. The model simulations support field observations that drought is rare in the wetter zones, but common on the eastern side of Vancouver Island at lower elevations and on more exposed slopes. We illustrate the current limitations on growth caused by suboptimal temperature, high vapor pressure deficits and other factors. The modeling approach complements ecological classifications and offers the potential to identify the most favorable sites for management of other native tree species under current and future climatic conditions.

Keywords: physiological modeling; 3-PG model; coastal western hemlock; forest productivity; Canada

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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