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    Author(s): Jean Lienard; Ionut Florescu; Nikolay Strigul
    Date: 2015
    Source: In: Stanton, Sharon M.; Christensen, Glenn A., comps. 2015. Pushing boundaries: new directions in inventory techniques and applications: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2015. 2015 December 8–10; Portland, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-931. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 267-271.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (368.0 KB)

    Description

    We revisit the classic theory of forest succession that relates shade tolerance and species replacement and assess its validity to understand patch-mosaic patterns of forested ecosystems of the USA. We introduce a macroscopic parameter called the “shade tolerance index” and compare it to the classic continuum index in southern Wisconsin forests. We exemplify shade tolerance driven succession in White Pine–Eastern Hemlock forests using computer simulations and analyzing approximated chronosequence data from the USDA FIA forest inventory. We describe this parameter across the last 50 years in the ecoregions of mainland USA, and demonstrate that it does not correlate with the usual macroscopic characteristics of stand age, biomass, basal area, and biodiversity measures. We characterize the dynamics of shade tolerance index using transition matrices and delimit geographical areas based on the relevance of shade tolerance to explain forest succession. We conclude that shade tolerance driven succession is linked to climatic variables and can be considered as a primary driving factor of forest dynamics mostly in central-north and northeastern areas in the USA. Overall, the shade tolerance index constitutes a new quantitative approach that can be used to understand and predict succession of forested ecosystems and biogeographic patterns.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Lienard, Jean; Florescu, Ionut; Strigul, Nikolay. 2015. An appraisal of the classic forest succession paradigm with the shade tolerance index. In: Stanton, Sharon M.; Christensen, Glenn A., comps. 2015. Pushing boundaries: new directions in inventory techniques and applications: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2015. 2015 December 8–10; Portland, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-931. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 267-271.

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