Pinno, B. D. and Bélanger, N. 2011. Estimating trembling aspen productivity in the boreal transition ecoregion of Saskatchewan using site and soil variables. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91: 661-669. The productivity of trembling aspen, as expressed by site quality index (SQI), in natural stands growing on three different soil parent material types (fluvial, lacustrine and glacial till) in the boreal transition ecoregion of Saskatchewan was evaluated by using soil and site variables. The soil and site variables used were either general categorical variables, such as parent material and ecosite, or continuous variables, such as soil texture (percent sand or clay), pH, carbon, nitrogen, C:N ratios, and elemental composition. It was not possible to reliably estimate SQI using only categorical site variables or continuous soil variables when all plots were grouped together. However, when plots were grouped by parent material type, over 45% of the variability in trembling aspen productivity was explained using the common soil measurements of texture and pH. In estimating SQI, there was an interaction between both pH and soil texture with parent material. On fluvial and lacustrine parent materials, increased clay content was positively correlated with SQI, but was negatively correlated with SQI on till, while pH was positively correlated with SQI on fluvial parent material, but negatively on lacustrine. Including more sophisticated measures of soil nutrient availability in the forest floor and BC horizons did not improve the SQI prediction. This study indicates that it is possible to estimate trembling aspen productivity using simple site and soil variables, provided that differences in soil properties within parent material groupings are considered in the analysis.
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Vol. 91 • No. 4