Competition and facilitation between tree species change with stand development

Authors

  • Xavier Cavard,

    1. NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada
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  • Yves Bergeron,

    1. NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada
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  • Han Y. H. Chen,

    1. NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada
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  • David Paré,

    1. NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada
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  • Jérôme Laganière,

    1. NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada
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  • Brian Brassard

    1. NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada
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X. Cavard, NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Univ. du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 4E5, Canada. E-mail: xavier.cavard@uqat.ca

Abstract

Processes governing tree interspecific interactions, such as facilitation and competition, may vary in strength over time. This study tried to unveil them by performing dendrometrical analyses on black spruce Picea mariana, trembling aspen Populus tremuloides and jack pine Pinus banksiana trees from pure and mixed mature boreal forest stands in the Clay Belt of northwestern Quebec and on the tills of northwestern Ontario. We cored 1430 trees and cut 120 for stem analysis across all stand composition types, tree species and study regions. Aspen annual growth rate was initially higher when mixed with conifers, but then progressively decreased over time compared to pure aspen stands, while jack pine growth rate did not differ with black spruce presence throughout all stages of stand development. When mixed with aspen, black spruce showed a contrary response to aspen, i.e. an initial loss in growth but a positive gain later. On the richer clay soil of the Quebec Clay Belt region, however, both aspen and spruce responses in mixed stands reversed between 37 and 54 years. Overall, our results demonstrate that interspecific interactions were present and tended to change with stand development and among species. Our results also suggest that the nature of interspecific interactions may differ with soil nutrient availability.

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