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Use of an Aspen Overstory to Control Understory Herbaceous Species, Bluejoint Grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), and Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)

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To enhance white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] regeneration and growth, the potential for using an aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) overstory to suppress bluejoint grass [Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.)] and fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium L) was investigated. Response to canopy opening was assessed on 10 treatments where the canopy had been incrementally opened. At the summer solstice, measurements of attenuated light were taken at 1.3 meters (breast height). Bluejoint grass and fireweed both responded with greater ground cover as the photosynthetic photon flux density increased (R 2 = 0.84, P = 0.0002; R 2 = 0.90, P = 0.0001; respectively). Where aspen has developed an overstory canopy, it may be possible to control competing vegetation to create favorable environmental conditions for spruce re-establishment, growth, and release while encouraging a sustainable mixedwood stand.
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Keywords: Boreal; competition; girdling; mixedwoods; thinning

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Mixedwood Ecology Program University of Northern British Columbia 3333 University Way Prince George British Columbia Canada V2N 4Z9

Publication date: 01 June 2004

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