Canadian Forest Service Publications

Canopy openness and leaf area in chronosequences of coastal temperate rainforests. 2000. Frazer, G.W.; Trofymow, J.A.; Lertzman, K.P. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 30: 239-256.

Year: 2000

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5428

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

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We examined spatial and temporal differences in canopy openness and effective leaf area (Le) in a series of eight forest chronosequences located on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Structural attributes were measured on the west and east side of the island in immature, mature, and old-growth stands using hemispherical photography and the LAI-2000 plant canopy analyzer (PCA). Old-growth forest canopies were distinct from those of younger stands: they were more open, more heterogeneous in their openness, and maintained a lower stand Le. Although the overall developmental trajectories of forests were similar across the study sites, site-to-site differences in the rate and magnitude of these temporal changes indicated that site-specific factors also play a significant role in determining the character of forest canopies and their development. The most significant changes in canopy structure did not emerge until the later stages of stand development (150-200 years). Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) dominated east-side forests were, on average, more open, more heterogeneous, and had a lower stand Le than the stands dominated by western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) and western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn.) forming the west-side chronosequences. Shoot clumping, along with other evidence, suggested that species-related differences in leaf display and the geometry of branching structure might have contributed significantly to these regional patterns.