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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26362

Title: Multi-cohort Stand Structural Classification: Ground and LiDAR-based Approaches for Boreal Mixedwood and Black Spruce Forest Types of Northeastern Ontario
Authors: Kuttner, Benjamin
Advisor: Malcolm, Jay R.
Smith, Sandy
Department: Forestry
Keywords: Boreal Forest
Forest Structure
Stand structural classification
Issue Date: 23-Feb-2011
Abstract: Natural fire return intervals are relatively long in eastern Canadian boreal forests and often allow for the development of stands with multiple, successive cohorts of trees. Multi-cohort forest management (MCM) provides a strategy to maintain such multi-cohort stands that focuses on three broad phases of increasingly complex, post-fire stand development, termed “cohorts”, and recommends different silvicultural approaches be applied to emulate different cohort types. Previous research on structural cohort typing has relied upon primarily subjective classification methods; in this thesis, I develop more comprehensive and objective methods for three common boreal mixedwood and black spruce forest types in northeastern Ontario. Additionally, I examine relationships between cohort types and stand age, productivity, and disturbance history and the utility of airborne LiDAR to retrieve ground based classifications and to extend structural cohort typing from plot to stand-levels. In both mixedwood and black spruce forest types, stand age and age related deadwood features varied systematically with cohort classes in support of an age-based interpretation of increasing cohort complexity. However, correlations of stand age with cohort classes were surprisingly weak. Differences in site productivity had a significant effect on the accrual of increasingly complex multi-cohort stand structure in both forest types, especially in black spruce stands. The effects of past harvesting in predictive models of class membership were only significant when considered in isolation of age. As an age emulation strategy, the three cohort model appeared to be poorly suited to black spruce forests where the accrual of structural complexity appeared to be more a function of site productivity than age. Airborne LiDAR data appear to be particularly useful in recovering plot-based cohort types and extending them to the stand-level. The main gradients of structural variability detected using LiDAR were similar between boreal mixedwood and black spruce forest types; the best LiDAR-based models of cohort type relied upon combinations of tree size, size heterogeneity, and tree density related variables. The methods described here to measure, classify, and predict cohort-related structural complexity assist in translating the conceptual three cohort model to a more precise, measurement based management system. In addition, the approaches presented here to measure and classify stand structural complexity promise to significantly enhance the detail of structural information in operational forest inventories in support of a wide array of forest management and conservation applications.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26362
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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