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Relationships between microsite type and the growth and nutrition of young black spruce on post-disturbed lowland black spruce sites in eastern Canada

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Abstract:

The surface of the soil in recently harvested or burned lowland black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) sites is composed of a fine mosaic of different bryophytes (mostly Sphagnum spp. and feathermosses), disturbed organic material originating mostly from mosses at different stages of decay, and exposed mineral soil. Growth substrates were compared in lowland black spruce stands regenerating after either careful logging or wildfire. The 3-year annual increment for black spruce seedlings was greatest with substrates of feathermosses, mainly Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt., fibric material of P. schreberi origin, and a mixture of fibric P. schreberi and humic materials; it was least with fibric Sphagnum spp., mineral soil, and decaying wood substrates. The most favourable substrates for growth were characterized by better black spruce N and P foliar status. Our results also suggest that categories of growth substrates in the rooting zone reflect nutritional quality better than categories of growth substrates on the soil surface. To maintain or increase black spruce growth following careful logging of sites prone to paludification, we recommend fill-planting of seedlings in substrates originating from P. schreberi; management techniques that favour P. schreberi over Sphagnum mosses should also be developed.

La surface du sol de sites récemment récoltés ou brûlés dans des peuplements d'épinettes noires (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) de basses terres est composée d'une fine mosaïque de différents types de bryophytes, principalement les sphaignes et les mousses hypnacées, de matière organique perturbée composée de différents types de mousses à différents degrés de décomposition et de sol minéral exposé. Les substrats de croissance qu'on retrouve dans des peuplements d'épinettes noires de basses terres provenant de sites régénérés suite à la coupe avec protection de la régénération et des sols ou suite à un feu ont été comparés. Les résultats suggèrent que la croissance en hauteur des semis d'épinette noire sur 3 ans est plus élevée avec les substrats de Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt., de matériel fibrique composé de P. schreberi et d'un mélange de matériels fibrique (composé de P. schreberi) et humique qu'avec la sphaigne fibrique, le sol minéral et le bois mort. Les substrats de croissance les plus favorables à la croissance sont caractérisés par une meilleure nutrition en azote et phosphore. Nos résultats suggèrent également que la classification des substrats de croissance au niveau des racines est plus indicative de leur valeur nutritive que la classification des substrats de croissance localisés en surface. En se basant sur ces résultats, pour maintenir ou augmenter la croissance en hauteur de l'épinette noire après coupe sur des sites susceptibles à la paludification, nous recommandons que la plantation dans des substrats formés de P. schreberi et qu'un aménagement qui favorise la présence de P. schreberi au détriment des sphaignes soient favorisés.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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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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