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Spatial and temporal stand dynamics of mature lodgepole pine forests of the Canadian Rocky Mountains Open Access


Other title
Lodgepole pine
Stand dynamics
spatial analyses
Understory communities
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Gendreau-Berthiaume, Benoit
Supervisor and department
Macdonald, S. Ellen (Renewable Resources)
Stadt, J. John (Forest Management Branch, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development)
Examining committee member and department
Stadt, J. John (Forest Management Branch, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development)
Comeau, Philip G. (Renewable Resources)
D'Amato, Anthony (The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, The University of Vermont)
Hik, David S. (Biological Sciences)
Hamann, Andreas (Renewable Resources)
Macdonald, S. Ellen (Renewable Resources)
Department of Renewable Resources
Forest Biology and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In forest ecosystems, structure and species composition change over time as a function of ageing and minor disturbances and it is important to understand these changes for predicting forest productivity and habitat suitability for other plant and animal biota. Disturbances play a major role in controlling these changes and in many forest ecosystems disturbance regimes have recently changed due to either the influence of climate or human management. The reduced fire frequency and recent mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreak in lodgepole pine forests of Alberta are a good example of such changes. These forests were historically characterized by relatively frequent stand-initiating disturbance but previous studies have recognized a variety of post-fire successional pathways. We have a limited understanding of the pattern and underlying processes of stand dynamics of these forests, particularly in mature forests as they proceed towards the canopy breakup stage. To better understand the dynamics of both the understory and overstory communities of mature lodgepole pine forest I used data from spatially explicit long term permanent plots in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada to determine the mechanisms or processes responsible for the observed patterns in community composition and structure as well as how these patterns changed in time. I also used dendrochronology to reconstruct the timing of establishment and disturbance history to assess how they influenced stand dynamics. I first assessed whether canopy closure led to the homogenization and convergence of understory communities and if the processes spatially structuring these communities changed during stand development. I also assessed what was driving mortality of lodgepole pine trees and if mortality in different canopy positions was affected by different processes. Finally I assessed which factors were influencing the establishment and survival of regeneration throughout stand development.
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. 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.
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