Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Distribution of Live Biomass, Herbivory and Foliar Retention in Central Oregon Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana) Crowns Public Deposited

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  • Lodgepole pine (Pinus conorta) is a widely distributed forest type across western North America. Central Oregon lodgepole pine forests are ecologically unique when compared to other lodgepole pine ecosystems. Sierra lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana) is the dominant variety and often exists as the climax species on pumice soils, while in most other regions lodgepole pine is an early successional species. Most lodgepole pine research has been conducted at high elevations in the Rocky Mountains. Research findings from other geographic locations may not by applicable to central Oregon lodgepole pine ecosystem. Forest and tree biomass distribution and utilization is currently of interest in the northwestern United States due to large outbreaks of MPB, changes in fuel distribution, and the desire utilize lodgepole pine for wood products and biomass. Understanding natural stand dynamics and responses to disturbance on individual tree physiology and canopy biomass distribution requires detailed studies on the structural differences of central Oregon lodgepole pine ecosystems. Little is currently known about the influence of vertical position and crown aspect within the canopy and their effect on the distribution of canopy biomass, herbivory and foliage retention in central Oregon lodgepole pine. This thesis describes the influence of both vertical crown position and crown aspect on the distribution of live biomass, herbivory and foliage retention in central Oregon lodgepole pine crowns. We randomly selected and sampled 33 trees within a stand in the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon. We systematically sampled 36 branches from each tree, from which we measured total biomass, the percentage of consumed leaf area (visually estimated) and the foliage retention in years of each branch. Linear mixed models (LMMs) were used for this study to describe the responses of crown structure attributes to live biomass distribution, herbivory distribution and foliar retention distribution. A nested experimental design was used, where plots were nested within the stand to account for the differing levels of between plot variability. We found strong evidence that the vertical position of the branch within the tree crown has a significant effect on the distribution of total biomass per branch, percentage of consumed leaf area and needle longevity. We also found that crown aspect has a significant influence on the distribution of branch biomass, but does not have a significant effect on herbivory or foliage retention. The biomass findings were consistent with findings in previous Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine studies; however there were inherent differences present with needle longevity and the distribution of the foliage retention. There are differences between lodgepole pine ecosystems in the intermountain west and central Oregon, which need to be accounted for when further studying crown architecture and canopy structure.
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