Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of stand age on net primary productivity of boreal black spruce forests in Canada. 2002. Chen, W.; Chen, J.M.; Price, D.T.; Cihlar, J. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 32(5): 833-842.

Year: 2002

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 21005

Language: English

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Quantification of the effects of stand age on its net primary productivity (NPP) is critical for estimating forest NPP and carbon budget at regional to global scales. This paper reports a practical method for quantifying age–NPP relationships using existing normal yield tables, biomass equations, and measurements of fine-root turnover and litterfall. Applying this method, we developed mean age–NPP relationships for black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) stands in Ontario. We define "mean age–NPP relationship", as the changes in NPP that occur with age under long-term mean environmental conditions. These relationships indicate that NPP at more productive sites culminates to a higher value and at an earlier age and also declines more rapidly thereafter. A further component analysis indicates that the decrease in biomass growth of woody tissues is the main contributor to the decline with age. Finally, error assessment suggests that the uncertainty in NPP estimates can be substantially reduced with a better quantification of fine-root turnover and litterfall, which are the two dominant NPP components, particularly in the later stages of stand development. With new techniques now available, more accurate measurement of these components is possible, and thus strongly recommended.