UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Windthrow Dynamics in Boreal Ontario: A Simulation of the Vulnerability of Several Stand Types across a Range of Wind Speeds Anyomi, Kenneth A.; Mitchell, Stephen J.; Perera, Ajith H.; Ruel, Jean-Claude

Abstract

In Boreal North America, management approaches inspired by the variability in natural disturbances are expected to produce more resilient forests. Wind storms are recurrent within Boreal Ontario. The objective of this study was to simulate wind damage for common Boreal forest types for regular as well as extreme wind speeds. The ForestGALES_BC windthrow prediction model was used for these simulations. Input tree-level data were derived from permanent sample plot (PSP) data provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. PSPs were assigned to one of nine stand types: Balsam fir-, Jack pine-, Black spruce-, and hardwood-dominated stands, and, Jack pine-, spruce-, conifer-, hardwood-, and Red and White pine-mixed species stands. Morphological and biomechanical parameters for the major tree species were obtained from the literature. At 5 m/s, predicted windthrow ranged from 0 to 20%, with damage increasing to 2 to 90% for winds of 20 m/s and to 10 to 100% for winds of 40 m/s. Windthrow varied by forest stand type, with lower vulnerability within hardwoods. This is the first study to provide such broad simulations of windthrow vulnerability data for Boreal North America, and we believe this will benefit policy decisions regarding risk management and forest planning.

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