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Influence of Ash Substrate Proximity on Growth and Survival of Planted Mixed-Conifer Seedlings

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To address uncertainty in the performance of seedlings planted in and around postburn substrates, we systematically planted seedlings in the center of, on the edge of, and outside ash substrate footprints following burning of logging residue piles and monitored growth and survival for a decade. Five species (Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii], giant sequoia [Sequoiadendron giganteum], incense-cedar [Calocedrus decurrens], sugar pine [Pinus lambertiana], and ponderosa pine [Pinus ponderosa]) were planted in a regenerating mixed-conifer stand in the Sierra Nevada range of California. There was a positive effect of ash substrate proximity on growth that was immediate and persisted for 10 years for every species except incense-cedar. Seedlings planted in the centers of ash substrates consistently outgrew (in both height and basal diameter) seedlings that were planted either on the edges of or outside ash substrates. Douglas-fir had the greatest height gain (+47%), followed by giant sequoia (+28%), sugar pine (+23%), and ponderosa pine (+17%). Basal diameter differences were similar. No effect of ash proximity on survival was detected. Planting seedlings in the centers of ash substrates led to exceptionally larger trees by the time the stand had developed enough to apply a precommercial thin, a relevant milestone for managed stands.
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Keywords: regeneration; repeated measures; site preparation; slash piles

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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