Aspen Bibliography


Climate Sensitive Growth Models for Predicting Diameter Growth of Western Canadian Boreal Tree Species

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research


Oxford University Press

Publication Date



In the face of anticipated climate change, growth models require modifications to effectively model likely future growth and survival of trees and stands. To support incorporation of climate effects in the Mixedwood Growth Model (MGM), we developed climate-sensitive mixed effects models for lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon), jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss), and examined how tree size, intra- and interspecific competition and climate will influence individual-tree diameter growth. Remeasurement data from permanent growth and yield sample plots from across the western Canadian boreal forest were used for this study. Based on the model that we developed, tree size, competition and climate had varying effects on growth, among tree species. Although intraspecific competition had a stronger negative effect on growth for deciduous and white spruce trees, interspecific competition had a stronger negative effect on the growth of pine. Deciduous trees growing in stands having longer frost-free period experienced an increase in growth but a negative effect of frost-free period was observed for conifers. In addition, higher moisture was found to increase tree growth, but the influence of available moisture on growth was dependent on competition. Overall, these results suggest that, under climate warming, between-species differences in growth responses will contribute to our understanding of the stand dynamics in the western boreal region of Canada. Climate sensitive growth models developed in this study will be useful in the recalibration of MGM and other individual-tree models, and predictions will contribute to better-informed decisions about silvicultural treatments for these economically important boreal tree species.