UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Investigation into the productivity of single- and mixed-species, second-growth stands of western hemlock and western redcedar Klinka, Karel; Collins, D. Bradley; Chourmouzis, Christine


In BC, it is required that harvested areas be regenerated with a mixture of tree species whenever appropriate to the site. This policy is based upon the assumption that increases in stand productivity, reliability, and/or biodiversity can be achieved in mixed-species stands. However, the knowledge justifying this policy is at best incomplete. Differences in forest productivity of mixed-species stands have been attributed mostly to competition. However, an increasing number of studies are providing evidence to support alternate theories, in which positive plant interactions play a major role. Positive plant interactions are divided into two components: (i) competitive reduction through structural and physiological differences in above and below ground structures, and (ii) facilitation through any positive effect on the growing environment of one plant species by another. These theories have yet to be tested in forest ecosystems. The objectives of this study, with respect to naturally established, unmanaged, second-growth stands of western hemlock (Hw) (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.), western redcedar (Cw) (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don in Lamb.), and their mixtures, were: (1) to review the mechanisms of positive plant interactions and their potential to occur in these mixtures, and (2) to compare the productivity of these three stand types, using relative and absolute yield.

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