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Survival and growth response of white spruce stock types to site preparation in Alaska

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To identify suitable methods for reforestation, we evaluated the interacting effects of past disturbance, stock types, and site preparation treatments on white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) seedling survival and growth across a range of sites in Alaska. Replicated experiments were established in five regions. At each site, two complete installations differed in time since disturbance: “new” units were harvested immediately before spring planting and “old” units were harvested at least 3 years before planting. We compared mechanical scarification before planting, broadcast herbicide application during the fall before planting, and no site preparation with 1-year-old container-grown seedlings from two sources, 2-year-old bare-root transplants from two sources, and 3-year-old bare-root transplants. Seedlings were followed for 11¬†years on most sites. Based on meta-analyses, seedling survival increased 10% with herbicide application and 15% with mechanical scarification compared with no site preparation. Scarification and herbicide application increased seedling height by about 28% and 35%, respectively, and increased seedling volume by about 86% and 195%, respectively, compared with no site preparation. Soil temperature did not differ among site preparation methods after the first 7¬†years. Results suggest that white spruce stands may be successfully restored through a combination of vegetation control and use of quality planting stock.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, LaGrande, OR 97850, USA. 2: Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

Publication date: April 8, 2011

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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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