Forests 2014, 5(2), 325-346; doi:10.3390/f5020325
Article

A Biogeochemical Examination of Ontario’s Boreal Forest Ecosite Classification System

1,* email, 2email, 2email and 3email
Received: 31 December 2013; in revised form: 13 February 2014 / Accepted: 18 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: The ecosite unit in Ontario’s boreal forest ecological land classification system is a polygon of common vegetation type and soil conditions intended to provide a standardized provincial framework to inform meso-scale forestry and planning applications. To determine whether the physical factors used for ecosite classification relate to patterns in ecological function over finer spatial scales, we examined 14 soil properties in replicate boreal forest plots representing eight mineral soil ecosite classes and three organic soil ecosite classes in the Hearst Forest. Despite large differences in vegetation composition, we found few statistically significant differences in properties when compared for individual classes or for more general groupings based on vegetation type and soil texture or expected fertility status. However, some properties (soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, and C:N ratio) were approaching significance in the 0–10 cm depth increment, and there were distinct differences between organic soil and mineral soil sites. Overall, these results suggest few explicit links between ecosystem function and ecosite class at this scale of measurement, highlighting the potential importance of non-steady-state relationships between vegetation species and soil properties in disturbed forests and the potential need for finer-scale characterization to capture patterns in ecosystem function.
Keywords: ecological land classification; forest soil classification; boreal forest; ecosite; forest management units; meso-scale forestry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tamminga, A.; Scott, N.A.; Treitz, P.; Woods, M. A Biogeochemical Examination of Ontario’s Boreal Forest Ecosite Classification System. Forests 2014, 5, 325-346.

AMA Style

Tamminga A, Scott NA, Treitz P, Woods M. A Biogeochemical Examination of Ontario’s Boreal Forest Ecosite Classification System. Forests. 2014; 5(2):325-346.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tamminga, Aaron; Scott, Neal A.; Treitz, Paul; Woods, Murray. 2014. "A Biogeochemical Examination of Ontario’s Boreal Forest Ecosite Classification System." Forests 5, no. 2: 325-346.

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