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Effect of Browsing, Seedbed, and Competition on the Development of Yellow Birch Seedlings in High-Graded Stands

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Many hardwood or mixedwood stands of northeastern North America have been high graded in the past and need restoration treatments to bring them back to an acceptable level of production. Even when early seedling establishment can be secured, further development may be compromised by many factors. This study looks at the effect of seedbed, browsing, and competition on the growth and survival of yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.) seedlings that became established after a brushing and scarification treatment applied in high-graded mixedwood stands of Quebec, Canada. The seedbed types studied include 1-m-wide scarified patches, 2-m-wide scarified patches, and mounds. Browsing impact was assessed by placing fences around half of the plots. Half of the plots were released from competing vegetation. Browsing by hare (Lepus americanus) was seen as a major factor controlling seedling development between 3 and 6 years after scarification. It reduced both survival and growth and obscured the effect of other factors. In the absence of browsing, competition had a major effect on mounds but not on scarified patches. Mounds were found to have the best growth potential when competition and browsing were controlled. The scarified patches had the best growth when competition and browsing were allowed. Even though mortality was somewhat higher on scarified patches, initial densities were very high and still provide more seedlings than required.
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Keywords: Betula alleghaniensis; competition; hare; site preparation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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