Landscape Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 905–918 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of forest site productivity drivers: a case study within the eastern boreal forests of Canada

  • Kenneth A. AnyomiEmail author
  • Frédéric Raulier
  • Yves Bergeron
  • Daniel Mailly
  • Martin P. Girardin
Research article


Forest productivity is driven by a suite of direct climatic and non-climatic factors that are transient or permanent. The kind of productivity driver and the nature of their effects vary by species, and scale dependencies potentially complicate these relationships. This study explored productivity-driver relations in eastern Boreal Canada and determined spatial effects in productivity control when expressed with stand dominant height at a reference age (site index). Data from 4,217 temporary sample plots obtained from boreal mixedwood and conifer bioclimatic domains, and with varied species composition, were used in this study. A single-level global model that assumes equal sensitivities across spatial scales was calibrated and compared with three alternative models reflecting different hypotheses on possible spatial heterogeneities. Alternative models were calibrated by plot-level soil deposit types (microscale), landscape dominant deposits (mesoscale) and bioclimatic domains (macroscale). A marked difference between the global and alternative models was observed, suggesting that a single global model does not sufficiently reflect existing heterogeneity in productivity-driver relationships. A combination of macro- and microscale models provided the best explanation of site index. Results further showed that site index is mainly driven by species composition (complementarity effects of aspen and jack pine compositions) and stand diameter structural diversity effects. It is concluded that successional changes, more than direct climatic effects, drive productivity.


Productivity Conifer Mixedwood Stand structure Species composition Heterogeneity Micro Meso Macroscales 



We sincerely thank the Ministry of Natural Resources of Quebec for inventory and fire data. We also thank Nicole Stump of Wayne National Forest, Ohio US for proof reading the paper. Funding for the study came from an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) project grant.

Supplementary material

10980_2014_26_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1350 kb)
10980_2014_26_MOESM2_ESM.docx (122 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 122 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Anyomi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Frédéric Raulier
    • 1
  • Yves Bergeron
    • 2
  • Daniel Mailly
    • 3
  • Martin P. Girardin
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre d’Étude de la Forêt. Faculté de foresteriede géographie et de géomatique Université LavalQuébecCanada
  2. 2.NSERC/UQAT/UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest ManagementUniversité du Québec en Abitibi-TémiscamingueRouyn-NorandaCanada
  3. 3.Direction de la recherche forestièreMinistère des Ressources naturellesQuébecCanada
  4. 4.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest ServiceLaurentian Forestry CentreQCCanada

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