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Growth of Coniferous Seedlings on a Drained and Mounded Peatland in Central Alberta

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Artificial reforestation experiments compared survival and growth of five species of coniferous containerized seedlings, and seedling browsing by ungulates on a clearcut, drained, and mounded peatland in the boreal forest. Six to seven growing seasons after planting, 91% of all seedlings had survived. Height and diameter growth in five species were ranked as follows: Siberian latch (Larix sibirica Ledeb.) > lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) > tamarack (Larix laricina [Du Roi] K. Koch) > black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.) = white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss). Overall, tamarack height and diameter growth was twice that of either spruce species. Height and diameter growth of tamarack, black spruce, and white spruce planted in the spring was 65% to 97% greater than that of the more robust seedlings for the same species planted in the fall of the same year. Repeated winter browsing by ungulates did not affect survival and growth of the five species. In an experiment where survival and growth of tamarack and black spruce seedlings planted on the mounds were compared with that of seedlings planted on the flat areas between mounds, there were no differences in survival, height, or root collar diameter growth between the two planting sites. In the event that suitable peatlands are used to augment existing timber supplies, lowering the water table through ditching, combined with mound-planting, is a feasible method of reforesting timber-harvested, boreal wet sites with Siberian latch, lodgepole pine, and white spruce. Tamarack and black spruce, however, survive and grow well on drained peatlands without mound-planting. North. J. Appl. For. 17(2):71-79.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320-122 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 3S5, (780) 435-7260;, Fax: (780) 435-7359

Publication date: 01 June 2000

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