Canadian Forest Service Publications

Growth of planted black spruce seedlings following mechanical site preparation in boreal forested peatlands with variable organic layer thickness: 5-year results. 2011. Lafleur, B.; Paré, D.; Fenton, N.J.; Bergeron, Y. Ann. For. Sci. 68:1291-1302.

Year: 2011

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 32927

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Context Following forest harvest, mechanical site preparation (MSP) is commonly used to regenerate harvested sites. In boreal forested peatlands, however, the effectiveness of MSP to regenerate harvested sites is likely to be hampered by thick organic layers.

Aim We sought to determine the capability of different MSP techniques to improve growth conditions of planted black spruce seedlings in boreal forested peatlands where closed-crown productive forests could revert to unproductive forested peatlands in the absence of severe soil disturbance.

Methods The effects of disc scarification, mounding and patch scarification on soil chemistry and seedling growth were contrasted.

Results Seedlings of site-prepared plots were 15% taller than those of untreated ones, irrespective of the MSP technique used, likely owing to the greater abundance of exposed mineral soil and mesic substrates created. Mounding and patch scarification were able to expose mineral soil over a greater proportion (>25% vs. <10%) of the treated area compared with disc scarification and control, whereas the combined surface area of exposed mineral soil and mesic substrates was higher in every MSP treatments relative to the control (>57% vs. 41%, respectively). Individual seedling growth was influenced by substrate type and drainage. Seedlings planted in moderately and well-drained mesic substrates and mineral soil were 25% taller than those planted in poorly drained fibric substrates.

Conclusion All three MSP techniques were effective because they succeeded in creating high-quality microsites despite thick organic layers.