Light extinction coefficients specific to the understory vegetation of the southern boreal forest, Quebec
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Isabelle Aubin; Marilou Beaudet; Christian Messier
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • Abies balsamea
  • Acer
  • Acer spicatum
  • Betula papyrifera
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • coniferous forests
  • cover
  • deciduous forests
  • distribution
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • forest management
  • forest types
  • herbaceous vegetation
  • leaves
  • light
  • overstory
  • Picea glauca
  • Pinus banksiana
  • population density
  • Populus tremuloides
  • Quebec
  • regeneration
  • sampling
  • seed germination
  • shrubs
  • stand characteristics
  • statistical analysis
  • succession
  • Taxus canadensis
  • Thuja occidentalis
  • understory vegetation
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 1, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 37536
Tall Timbers Record Number: 12014
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-C
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


This study was conducted in six different forest types in Abitibi. Que., (i) to identify the factors that most influence understory light transmission in the southern boreal forest and (ii) to develop light extinction coefficients (k), which could be used to simulate light transmission in the understory. Light availability and understory vegetation (cover, composition. vertical distribution, and leaf area index) were characterized within three strata (0.05-5 m) in a total of 180 quadrats. Calculated k values were based on measured light availability and leaf area index. These values varied among forest types, strata, understory vegetation types, and cover in the upper stratum. The highest k values were generally associated with a dense stratum of Acer spicatum Lam. We developed five sets of k values based on the factors that most affected light transmission. Measured transmission (Tm) was compared with transmission predicted (Tp) from each set of k values. Light transmission predicted using a single k value (mean k = 0.54) underestimated Tm. More accurate predictions were obtained when we used the other four sets of k values. Our results indicate that, in the southern boreal forest, the understory vegetation can be quite heterogeneous and patterns of light transmission cannot be accurately simulated using a unique k value. However, the various sets of k values developed in this study could be used in prediction models of forest dynamics to obtain relatively good predictions of understory light extinction in forest types similar to the ones studied here.© National Research Council of Canada. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Aubin, I., M. Beaudet, and C. Messier. 2000. Light extinction coefficients specific to the understory vegetation of the southern boreal forest, Quebec. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 30, no. 1, p. 168-177.