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Stockability, relative density and productivity: investigating their link in boreal mixedwoods Open Access


Other title
Reineke's SDI
Density-dependent mortality
Boreal mixedwoods
Relative density
Maximum size-density relationships
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Reyes-Hernandez, Valentin J
Supervisor and department
Comeau, Phil (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Cahill, James (Biological Sciences)
Ducey, Mark (University of New Hampshire)
Lieffers, Vic (Renewable Resources)
Greenway, Kenneth (Government of Alberta)
Bokalo, Mike (Renewable Resources)
Velazquez-Martinez, Alejandro (College of Postgraduates-Mexico)
Department of Renewable Resources
Forest Biology and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
I explore and evaluate the use of indicators of density and stand composition in analyzing key aspects of the dynamics of boreal stands comprised primarily by trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss. in western Canada. First, using repeated measures data, I examine static and dynamic maximum size-density relationships (MSDR) for both pure and mixed stands of these species. Then, I evaluate the usefulness of density indicators in explaining understory light availability in mid-rotation and mature boreal pure and mixed stands, including examination of stand density index (SDI) based on the MSDR previously developed. Furthermore, I also test the usefulness of SDI and other density indicators in explaining trembling aspen, white spruce, and stand periodic annual increment in volume. Finally, I evaluate the usefulness of stand characteristics, including density and composition, in predicting the probability of survival of individual trees and saplings in boreal stands experiencing self-thinning. Results show that MSDR can be developed for mixed and pure boreal stands, and that a three-dimensional surface is the most suitable approach for their development. Stand composition and site quality are factors influencing MSDR. I also found that understory light is fairly variable in these stands, and that density and/or SDI are able to explain about 30 % of this variation. Total periodic annual increment in volume appears to be determined by the maximum stockability of these stands, and decreases in either aspen or spruce stocking, or both, result in reductions in PAI. Finally, one-sided competition, rather than two-sided, is the determining factor affecting individual tree survival, regardless of species. While basal area and/or SDI of larger trees captures these effects, individual tree growth rates serve better as indicators of survival probability.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Reyes-Hernandez, V.; Comeau, P.G.; and Bokalo, M. 2013.Static and dynamic maximum size-density relationships for mixed trembling aspen and white spruce stands in western Canada. For. Ecol. Manage. 289:300-311. doi:

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