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Establishment of natural regeneration under severe browsing pressure from white-tailed deer after group seed-tree cutting with scarification on Anticosti Island

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The use of large clearcuts with protection of advance regeneration is inappropriate for regeneration of balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) under severe browsing from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann)). However, little is known about the effects of tree-retention methods along with scarification on the establishment of balsam fir in a context of severe herbivory. Consequently, we hypothesized that seed-tree-group cutting in conjunction with soil scarification creates favourable conditions for balsam fir regeneration. In 1998 and 1999 we set up three circular forest groups of different sizes (40, 60, and 80m in diameter) surrounded by three different intensities of scarification (no treatment, single pass, double pass) in two balsam fir stands on Anticosti Island, Quebec, Canada. Moreover, we used a network of fenced and unfenced regeneration plots to evaluate the impact of white-tailed deer browsing. The results showed that up to 7years after harvest, seed-tree-group cutting did not improve the establishment of conifer species. Scarification had a negative impact on the abundance of conifer species, whereas white birch (Betula papyrifera Marshall) density was significantly higher in areas scarified twice than in unscarified areas. Overall, the development of palatable tree species appears unlikely at deer densities>20 individuals/km2.

L’utilisation de grandes coupes à blanc avec protection de la régénération s’est avérée inefficace pour régénérer le sapin baumier (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) en présence de densités élevées de cerf de Virginie (Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann)). Cependant, peu d’études ont évalué l’efficacité de coupes avec rétention d’arbres, jumelées avec une préparation de terrain, pour favoriser l’établissement de la régénération soumise à un fort broutement. Nous avons donc testé l’effet d’une coupe avec réserve d’îlots semenciers, jumelée avec différentes intensités de scarifiage, pour améliorer les conditions d’établissement du sapin baumier. En 1998 et 1999, nous avons installé des îlots semenciers de 40, 60 et 80m de diamètre autour desquels nous avons effectué trois intensités de scarifiage (aucun traitement, un passage et deux passages) dans deux sapinières sur l’île d’Anticosti (Québec, Canada). De plus, nous avons installé un réseau de parcelles clôturées et non clôturées pour évaluer l’effet du broutement. Sept ans après la coupe, les résultats montrent que la réserve d’îlots semenciers et le scarifiage n’ont pas amélioré l’établissement des conifères. Le scarifiage a néanmoins permis d’augmenter significativement la densité de bouleau à papier (Betula papyrifera Marshall). Toutefois, le développement des essences consommées par le cerf apparaît compromis à des densités locales>20 individus/km2.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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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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