Aspen Bibliography

Above ground biomass accumulation along a 230 year chronosequence in the southern portion of the Canadian boreal forest

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Journal of Ecology





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  1. The above-ground biomass of trees in a southern boreal forest was assessed along a 231-year-old chronosequence following fire. The vertical distribution of crown width was also measured.
  2. As the forest develop, the canopy profiles changed from a single layer to a bimodal distribution before reverting to one layer of trees with low stature. The changes in the morphology of the canopy were largely due to changes in abundance of Populus tremuloides (Michx), which reached a greater height than other species.
  3. The living above-ground biomass increased linearly to 17.3 kg m-2 by 75 years after fire and then declined strongly to 7.7 kg m-2 by year 197. A recent (10-year-old) spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clem.) outbreak that affected old stands most severely contributed to the low biomass of old sites. A strong positive relationship between the proportion of Populus tremuloides and total above-ground biomass corrected for the spruce budworm effect, which remained significant throughout the chronosequence, suggested that a decreasing abundance of this species could also contribute to the biomass decline with stand age.
  4. In boreal forests, the decline in the amounts of living tree above-ground biomass that follows the aggradation phase has often been explained by decreasing soil nutrient availability. The present observations suggest that succession to species of different physiognomy and of increased susceptibility to disturbance could also contribute to this decline.