Development of climate sensitive growth functions for western North Americas boreal tree species
The Mixedwood Growth Model (MGM) is used by forest managers in estimating growth and yield outcomes for common boreal tree species in North America. MGM has been shown to effectively model both managed and unmanaged stands in Alberta and surrounding regions. Currently, climate effects are not accounted for in growth functions used in MGM. Recent work for black spruce has shown that there is need to understand and model the effect of climate for other boreal tree species including white spruce, aspen, balsam poplar, lodgepole pine and jack pine. This study is designed to examine the effect of climate, competition, site quality, and their interactions with climate on the growth of the aforementioned tree species. Long term measurement data with at least 11,673 Permanent Sample Plots (PSP) established and measured between 1931 and 2015 across western Canada and Alaska will be analysed for this project. This will include evaluating a wide variety of climate variables, competition indices and tree and site variables as potential predictors of growth . The addition of climate to growth functions in MGM would improve its ability to represent effects of climatic variation in the western boreal and support modeling of climate change impacts.