A Forest in Transition: The Role of Small-scale Disturbances

Kira Hoffman, Carley Coccola, Kimberly House, Annie Markvoort


Large and small scale natural disturbances shape and define characteristics of forest stands. This research examines the response of a western hemlock stand following small-scale gap-producing events in Glacier National Park, British Columbia. The study used a megaplot with three individual quadrats to analyze dendrochronological, tree mensuration, vegetation and soil profile data. Results confirmed that three distinct age classes (new gap, intermediate gap, mature forest) were present, and that growth releases in dominant and sub-dominant trees corresponded with probable gap formation events. Productivity increased in new gaps and stand dynamics varied greatly in new- and intermediate- aged gaps. The dominant regeneration of western hemlock species on coarse woody debris is supported by small-scale disturbances, creating transitional forests in Glacier National Park.


gap dynamics; disturbances; mensuration; dendrochronology; British Columbia; Glacier National Park

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18357/tar31201211526

Copyright (c) 2012 Kira Hoffman, Carley Coccola, Kimberly House, and Annie Markvoort


This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.


ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria