Étude de quelques mécanismes écophysiologiques associés aux changements temporels de croissance de la forêt boréale du nord-est du Canada

Authors: Baret, Matthieu
Advisor: Pothier, DavidPépin, Steeve
Abstract: The development over time of most forests is characterised by an early fast growing period until canopy closure, which is generally followed by a decreasing growth rate whose underlying mechanisms remain unclear. The general objective of this thesis was thus to explore some mechanisms that could partially explain the observed age-related productivity decline of northeastern boreal Canadian forest stands. The first chapter aimed to test the hypothesis that the proportion of resources that are allocated to roots increases with stand age as a response to a decrease in nutrient availability related to the long-term accumulation of organic matter, thus decreasing stem growth. Results based on soil respiration and annual tree growth measurements partly supported the hypothesis, suggesting that other mechanisms were involved in the growth decline of old-growth forest stands. The second chapter improved our understanding of the temporal tree growth dynamics based on their social class and its effect on total stand growth. Some functional components of the relative growth rate of trees and stand growth dominance (a measure of the relative contribution of different sized trees to total stand growth) were quantified along development stages. Results showed that overall, the observed decrease in stand growth dominance with increasing age was explained mainly by declining resource acquisition and utilization in dominant trees rather than through improved growth conditions of non-dominant trees. The last chapter refined these results by testing the hydraulic limitation hypothesis, which states that an increase of hydraulic constrains in tall trees is related to their decreasing growth with time. Tree-level sap flow and foliar C and O isotope abundance measurements highlighted an increasing hydraulic constrains in dominant trees over time, thus partly explaining their declining growth and the aged-related stand growth decline. These three chapters allowed us to identify some of the mechanisms involved in the temporal growth changes of the northeastern boreal forest, a crucial information for a sustainable forest management.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 3 May 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/29569
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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