Examining 40-year stand development following vegetation control: white spruce planted in a trembling aspen dominated cutover

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Abstract:

Many of the major questions regarding stand establishment practices involve implications for longer-term ecosystem development. We examined 41-year treatment effects on stand composition and dynamics using a white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) planting, mechanical site preparation (MSP) – herbicide (2,4-D plus 2,4,5-T) trial in a trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) dominated mixedwood. Both barrel and blade MSP with planting increased total and white spruce year 41 stand-level biomass over that in untreated areas. Year 2 herbicide application reduced year 41 trembling aspen biomass without substantially increasing that of white spruce, resulting in total yields similar to those in untreated areas. Barrel MSP increased year 41 trembling aspen biomass over that of untreated areas whereas blade MSP reduced it. Herbicide-related declines in trembling aspen biomass persisted or increased with time whereas white spruce response to herbicide varied with time and MSP. By accounting for inherent growth patterns, age shift calculations gave more balanced temporal depictions of planted white spruce response than effect size or percentage gain calculations. With barrel MSP, stand composition demonstrated a degree of mixedwood homeostasis whereas with blading, trembling aspen composition declined unilaterally from year 20 to 41.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x11-002

Affiliations: 1: Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen St. E, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2E5, Canada. 2: Korah Collegiate and Vocational School, 636 Goulais Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6C 5A7, Canada.

Publication date: April 8, 2011

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