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Author Canham, C.D.; Papaik, M.J.; Latty, E.F.
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Title Interspecific variation in susceptibility to windthrow as a function of tree size and storm severity for northern temperate tree species
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Publication Can. J. For. Res.
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Year 2001
Volume 31
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Pages 1-10
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Abstract Studies of wind disturbance regimes have been hampered by the lack of methods to quantify variation in both storm severity and the responses of tree species to winds of varying intensity. In this paper, we report the development of a new, empirical method of simultaneously estimating both local storm severity and the parameters of functions that define species-specific variation in susceptibility to windthrow as a function of storm severity and tree size. We test the method using data collected following a storm that struck the western Adirondack Mountains of New York in 1995. For intermediate-sized stems (e.g., 40 cm DBH), black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.) and red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) showed the highest rates of windthrow across virtually all levels of storm severity, while yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) had the lowest rates of windthrow. For much of the range of storm severity, the probability of windthrow for the most susceptible species was at least twice as high as for the least susceptible species. Three of the species, yellow birch, red spruce, and beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.), had significantly lower probability of windthrow at a given storm severity in old-growth stands than in second-growth stands. Our results suggest that the distinctive abundance of these three species in old-growth forests of the Adirondacks is due, at least in part, to their ability to survive the intermediate-scale disturbance events that appear to dominate the natural disturbance regime in this region.
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