Wildlife-mitigated precommercial thinning maintains the abundance of fruit shrubs in a boreal forest
Abstract:In boreal forests, fruits are an abundant resource in late summer and benefit many wildlife species. Fruits are mainly found in early successional stands, which are often subject to precommercial thinning designed to increase diameter growth of residual trees and manage stand species composition. Concerns about the consequences of precommercial thinning on wildlife have led to various methods of precommercial thinning with mitigation for wildlife. In summers 2007 and 2008, we examined the impact of wildlife-mitigated thinning on fruit shrub abundance and distribution at the Forêt Montmorency, Quebec. The abundance of fruit shrubs of all species except Amelanchier was similar in thinned and control stands but was highly variable among individual stands. Amelanchier shrubs appeared to benefit from thinning, especially 10 to 20 years after clearcutting. Fruit shrubs were highly clustered within early successional stands, but less so after thinning. We conclude that wildlife-mitigated precommercial thinning does not reduce access to fruits for birds and other frugivores and may even facilitate it in eastern Canadian boreal forests.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2013-03-08
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