Pacific silver fir site index in relation to ecological measures of site quality Klinka, Karel
Ecosystem-specific forest management requires comprehension of tree species productivity in managed settings, and how this productivity varies with the ecological determinants of site quality, i.e., the environmental factors that directly affect the growth of plants: light, heat, soil moisture, soil nutrients, and soil aeration. A good understanding of this variation is necessary for making species- and site-specific silvicultural decisions to maximize productivity. Productivity of a given species is usually measured by site index (tree height at 50 years at breast height age). Quantitative relationships between site index and these measures of site quality provide predictive models for estimating site index. Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis (Dougl. ex Loud.) Forbes) is an important timber crop species in the coastal forests of British Columbia. In relation to climate, its range in southwestern British Columbia extends from sea level to almost timberline, and from the hypermaritime region on western Vancouver Island to the subcontinental region on the leeward side of the Coast Mountains. In relation to soils, its range extends from slightly dry to wet sites and from very poor to very rich sites. In view of this relatively wide climatic amplitude, a large variability in productivity can be expected. It is particularly important to consider the growth performance of Pacific silver fir when decisions are made regarding whether or not to cut stands on high-elevation sites. In the study summarized here, relationships between Pacific silver fir site index and selected ecological measures of site quality were examined, and site index models using these measures as predictors were developed.
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