In mixed forest plantations in sub-boreal forests with high levels of natural regeneration ingrowth, competition must be quantified differently for each species, with distant-independent indices working better for the planted species and distant-dependent indices for ingrown balsam fir. Although broadleaved competition hinders growth of coniferous species more than coniferous competition, the differentiation between clades is not important enough to improve growth predictions.
The use of ecosystem-based forest management has changed how forest stands are tended. This shift in the management paradigm has led to a higher tolerance in natural ingrowth regeneration in plantations. The correct way of quantifying competition must thus be assessed to develop growth simulators. An individual tree relative basal area increment (RBAI) growth model for white spruce, balsam fir and other coniferous and broadleaved species was calibrated. Using data obtained from 94 sample plots in 48 white spruce plantations from Eastern Quebec, we considered both linear and nonlinear models of RBAI as a function of site index, tree size and tree competition. The tested distance-dependent and distance-independent indices were also discriminated according to competitor clade (conifers or broadleaves). The best competition index for balsam fir was distance-dependent whereas a distant-independent one was retained for the other species groups. Moreover, broadleaved competitors had stronger effect on RBAI for white spruce growth when compared to coniferous competitors. Competition must be quantified depending on if the species is planted or ingrown. However, dividing competition into clades (i.e. coniferous versus broadleaved) is not necessary, at least in the present study.
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Bérubé-Deschênes A, Franceschini T, Schneider R 2017. Quantifying competition in white spruce (Picea glauca) plantations. Ann. For. Sci. 74: 26. 10.1007/s13595-017-0624-3.