Western larch site index in relation to ecological measures of site quality Klinka, Karel; New, David Morley; Chourmouzis, Christine
A silviculturist needs to know how productivity of all tree species under management 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 biologically viable, speciesand site specific silvicultural decisions. Productivity of a given species is usually measured by site index (top tree height at 50 years at breast height age). Quantified relationships between site index of a given species and ecological measures of site quality provide predictive models for estimating site index for all sites on which the species may grow. Western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.) is an important tree species in southern central and eastern British Columbia. It grows mainly in the IDF, ICH, and MS zones on moderately dry through very moist sites and on poor through very rich sites. In view of this relatively wide ecological amplitude, a large variation in productivity could be expected. In the study summarized here, relationships between larch site index and selected ecological measures of site quality were examined, and a site index model using these measures as predictors was developed.
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