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Testing forest ecosystem management in boreal mixedwoods of northwestern Quebec: initial response of aspen stands to different levels of harvesting

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Abstract:

The SAFE (sylviculture et aménagement forestiers écosystémique) project was set up in 1998 in the Lake Duparquet Research and Teaching Forest to test stand-level silvicultural treatments designed to reflect different aspects of natural forest dynamics. In the winter of 1998–1999, four levels of forest harvesting, including a no-harvest and a clearcut treatment, were applied to even-aged trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) stands according to a complete block design with three replications. Two partial cut treatments removed 33% and 61% of the stand basal area. During the first growing season, harvesting induced a large increase in indigenous understorey biomass that paralleled changes in the canopy opening. Aspen sucker density increased from 4916 stems/ha in the control to 28 751 and 63 333 stems/ha in the one-third and two-thirds harvesting treatments and 102 916 stems/ha in the clearcut. Most changes in nutrient cycling occurred in the second year and included an increase in forest floor organic C, total N, and base cation availability and a decrease in microbial C/N ratio. These changes may have occurred in response to reduced vegetation uptake and woody debris abundance.

Le projet SAFE (sylviculture et aménagement forestiers écosystémique) a débuté en 1998 dans la Forêt d'enseignement et de recherche du lac Duparquet afin de tester différents traitements sylvicoles inspirés de la dynamique naturelle des peuplements. Quatre intensités de récolte, incluant la coupe totale, la récolte de 33 et 61% de la surface terrière totale et un traitement témoin non coupé, ont été appliquées à des peuplements équiennes de tremble (Populus tremuloides Michx.) au cours de l'hiver 1998–1999, selon un plan en block complet avec trois répétitions. La végétation de sous bois a répondu par une augmentation de sa biomasse proportionnelle à l'ouverture du couvert. Au cours de la première année, la densité des drageons de tremble était de 4916 tiges/ha dans le traitement témoin, 28 751 et 63 333 tiges/ha dans les coupes partielles et 102 916 tiges/ha dans la coupe totale. La plupart des changements observés dans le cycle des nutriments sont survenus dans la couverture morte pendant la deuxième année suivant la coupe. Parmi ceux-ci figurent une augmentation du C organique, du N total et des cations basiques échangeables et une diminution du ratio C/N de la biomasse microbienne. La diminution du prélèvement par les plantes et les changements dans l'abondance des débris ligneux expliqueraient ces changements.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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