Decennial growth and mortality following uniform partial cutting in yellow birch – conifer stands

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Estimating residual tree survival and growth is crucial for evaluating the overall merit of partial harvesting. In this case study, we present the effects of different cutting intensities (0%, 40%, 50%, and 60% of merchantable (diameter at breast height ≥ 9.1 cm) basal area (BA)) on the response of residual trees in two mixed yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.) – conifer stands in eastern Quebec, Canada. Primarily aimed at promoting regeneration establishment, the experiment was conducted in two sites 90 km apart (Armagh and Duchesnay), each one containing four replicates of treatments in a randomized block design. Mortality after cutting decreased with increasing BA removal, but losses were two to three times higher at Armagh (62–138 stems/ha) than at Duchesnay (22–88 stems/ha). Loss of conifer stems involved primarily balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) under natural conditions (control), whereas fir and red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) were equally affected in partial cuts. Red maple (Acer rubrum L.) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) were lost regardless of treatment. As a whole, growth in merchantable BA increased with cutting intensity. Uniform partial cuts produced good BA growth response from conifers at Armagh (0.27–0.28 m2·ha−1·year−1) and from hardwoods at Duchesnay (0.16–0.25 m2·ha−1·year−1), whereas BA growth was negligible for both species groups in the control. We examine the role of species composition and stand structure before cutting in the response of residual trees.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Ministère des Ressources naturelles, Forêt Québec, Direction de la recherche forestière, 2700, rue Einstein, Québec, QC G1P 3W8, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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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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