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Open AccessArticle

Tree Death Not Resulting in Gap Creation: An Investigation of Canopy Dynamics of Northern Temperate Deciduous Forests

1
Centre D’étude de la Forêt, Département des Sciences Biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada
2
Institut des Sciences de la Forêt Tempérée (ISFORT), Département des Sciences Naturelles, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Ripon, QC J0V 1V0, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010121
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lidar for Forest Science and Management)
Several decades of research have shown that canopy gaps drive tree renewal processes in the temperate deciduous forest biome. In the literature, canopy gaps are usually defined as canopy openings that are created by partial or total tree death of one or more canopy trees. In this study, we investigate linkages between tree damage mechanisms and the formation or not of new canopy gaps in northern temperate deciduous forests. We studied height loss processes in unmanaged and managed forests recovering from partial cutting with multi-temporal airborne Lidar data. The Lidar dataset was used to detect areas where canopy height reduction occurred, which were then field-studied to identify the tree damage mechanisms implicated. We also sampled the density of leaf material along transects to characterize canopy structure. We used the dataset of the canopy height reduction areas in a multi-model inference analysis to determine whether canopy structures or tree damage mechanisms most influenced the creation of new canopy gaps within canopy height reduction areas. According to our model, new canopy gaps are created mainly when canopy damage enlarges existing gaps or when height is reduced over areas without an already established dense sub-canopy tree layer. View Full-Text
Keywords: canopy gap; canopy structure; multi-temporal airborne Lidar; tree damage mechanisms; canopy height erosion canopy gap; canopy structure; multi-temporal airborne Lidar; tree damage mechanisms; canopy height erosion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Senécal, J.-F.; Doyon, F.; Messier, C. Tree Death Not Resulting in Gap Creation: An Investigation of Canopy Dynamics of Northern Temperate Deciduous Forests. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 121.

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