Stand Dynamics, Humus Type and Water Balance Explain Aspen Long Term Productivity across Canada.
Kenneth Anyomi, François Lorenzetti, Yves Bergeron, Alain Leduc.
This study examined the relative importance of soil, stand development and climate hypotheses in driving productivity for a species that is widely distributed in North America. Inventory plots, 3548 of such, either dominated by aspen or made up of species mixture of which aspen occurs in dominant canopy position were sampled along a longitudinal gradient from Quebec to British Columbia. Site index (SI), was used as a measure of productivity, and soil, climate and stand attributes were correlated with site index in order to determine their effects on productivity. Results show a decline in productivity with high moisture deficit. Soil humus correlates significantly with SI but does not sufficiently capture differential rates of litter deposition and decomposition effects over the long-term. Consequently, aspen composition, stand ageing, and stand structural changes dominate variability in productivity. Within the context where deciduous cover has being increasing, there are implications for forest productivity.