- Dr. Canham, Charles
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
The core of the research supported by this award was motivated by my recent publications that demonstrate that the strength of interspecific competition between sets of different tree species varies dramatically (Canham et al., 2004, 2006, Papaik et al. 2006, Coates et al. 2009). This led me to the hypothesis that managing for specific mixtures of weakly competing or complementary tree species might produce higher yield than either monocultures or random assemblages of species. We have used two primary methods in our research: (1) simulations using a spatially-explicit model of forest dynamics (SORTIE-ND; Pacala et al. 1996) that has been parameterized for northeastern forests, and (2) empirical analyses of data from U.S.F.S. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. The FIA data played two crucial roles: they provided realistic initial starting conditions (range of forest composition and structure) for the simulations, and they provided independent analyses of the effects of different mixtures and stand structures on biomass accumulation in northeastern forests. This latter role provided a critical validation of the predictions of the simulation model.