Seedling establishment and survival on decaying logs in boreal mixedwood stands following a mast year

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In the boreal forest, establishment of tree regeneration is tightly linked to both mast years and the availability of adequate germination beds for seedlings. We took advantage of a mast year (2006) in the eastern boreal mixedwood to compare seedling establishment in 2007 and seedling survival 2 and 4 years later on sections of fallen logs and equivalent areas of adjacent forest floor. Several factors that could explain establishment of seedlings on logs were measured, including wood resistance, density, moisture content, and C/N ratio. Our results show that small-seeded species, such as white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss), establish preferentially on logs whereas balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), a relatively large-seeded species, establishes more often on the forest floor. Using logistic regressions, we confirmed that the probability of seedling establishment on logs declines with wood resistance, while the survival probability is inversely proportional to stand deciduous basal area. Survival rate was similar for seedlings established on the forest floor and on logs. However, none of the white birch seedlings established on the forest floor in 2007 were alive by 2011. Even following an exceptional mast year, log occurrence in eastern mixedwood stands would not suffice to obtain adequate white spruce stocking levels.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Chaire AFD, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), 445 blvd. Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada. 2: Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve W, H 1255-26 (Hall Building), Montreal, QC H3G 1M8, Canada.

Publication date: August 31, 2012

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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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