Site Index Project - 130-703

Description: Site quality refers to the capacity of a given site to produce biomass. In forests, site quality is closely linked to the growth rate of trees, and is generally positively related to the magnitude of the tree growth response to silvicultural treatments. Site quality is thus a critical factor in determining sustainable harvest levels, and for identifying sites where silvicultural treatments aimed at increasing forest productivity should be applied. Better quality sites also tend to be those where competition is likely to be a factor that will influence stand regeneration and development after conventional clear-cut harvest.

The focus of this project is on the tolls that are currently available for the evaluation of site quality in Ontario's forests. The following stepwise approach was suggested to ensure that appropriate tools are available for all of the tree species that contribute to the managed forest landscape in Ontario.

1) Ensure that appropriate models of the relationship between top height and age are available for all tree species. Validate existing families of polymorphic base-age invariant top height vs. age curves, and develop new curves where necessary.

2) Evaluate and develop tools to link juvenile growth rates to site-index. Where existing tools are available, further work may be needed to ensure they can be easily incorporated into the FMP process, inventory, etc.

3) Link validated height-growth models to inherent site characteristics and develop species conversion tools needed to evaluate silvicultural options at the time of establishment.

Many of these tools are available for validation work, particularly for species that are most desireable to industrial forest harvesting. Height vs. age models have been developed for the most widely managed tree species in boreal Ontario including jack pine, black spruce and aspen. Models for many of the other species are available though many have been developed in neighboring jusrisdictions.

The project objectives are to:

1) Evaluate the growth intercept models developed for jack pine and black spruce using dominant trees collected from managed stands throughout Northern Ontario.

2) Develop a tool or tools to allow practitioners to easily convert measured growth intercept to a site index with base age 50

3) Investigate the potential to develop species conversion tools for the three major boreal species in terms of area under management (jack pine, black spruce, aspen)


The Project Team: Doug Reid, CNFER, Mahadev Sharma, OFRI, Scott McPherson, OMNR



SI and GI for CIF Workshop, 2009


Status Reports:

Site Quality Tools Strategic Outlook

Site Quality Tools Project Sample Protocol

Status Report (2007-2008)

Project Work Report (2007-2008)

Status Report (2008-2009)

Financial Summary (2008-2009)

For Additional Information Contact:

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