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Growth simulation of trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs on a big-game winter range Quenet, Robin Vincent

Abstract

Plant growth, production, competition and, to a limited degree, secondary succession have been simulated for a mixed species forest ecosystem operating on a big-game winter range. The simulation was based on empirically derived relationships. The major plant species investigated included Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco (Douglas-fir), Amelanchier alnifolia, Ceanothus sanguineus, Shepherdia canadensis, Prunus virginiana, Rosa nutkana, Symphoricarpos albus, Agropyron spicatum, Poa compressa and scabrella, Calamagrostis rubescens and Koeleria cristata. Distinction was not made among forb species. The simulation model predicts plant community development and production by species for a maximum period of 100 years following establishment, with up to 20 calculation intervals. Individual plants form the basic simulation unit. Variable data inputs include simulation period, calculation interval, species composition, density, inherent biological variability and site quality. Output is expressed in terms of wood production, weight of annual twig production of shrubs, current annual growth and carry-over of grasses, and current annual growth, of forbs. Designed to be used on the Wigwam big-game winter range in the East Kootenay district of British Columbia, the model provides a quantitative comparison of the land's capability to produce wood, browse, grasses and forbs. It also provides a basis for the solution of forestry-wildlife conflicts, such as assessment of the implications of management for wood production on ungulate food production, and formulation and testing of strategies designed to increase yields of wood, browse, grass and forbs.

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