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Does stump removal affect early growth and mycorrhizal infection of spruce (Picea abies) seedlings in clear-cuts?

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Stump removal procedure increases the extent of exposed mineral soil in the clear felled areas. In this study, our aim was to find out whether the early growth and mycorrhization of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings differ between stump removal and mounding sites. Stumps were harvested from five one-hectare study sites and other five sites were mounded after clear felling. Twenty seedlings were planted on mounds at each study site. Although the height of spruce seedlings did not differ between the treatments after three growing periods, their mean growth was ca. 10% higher at the stump removal sites. The community of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) in the seedling roots did not differ between the treatments. The high mycorrhization rate in the nursery still remained after two and three growing seasons in the field and diversity of ECM community slightly increased during the first years. Our results indicate some positive although rather small and transient effects of stump removal on the performance of planted spruce seedlings. Longer-term studies are needed to fully understand the effects of stump removal on the later seedling development and their symbiotic interactions with mycorrhizal fungi.
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Keywords: Ectomycorrhiza; Norway spruce; forest management; stump removal; tree growth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological and Environmental Science,University of Jyväskylä, Finland 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa, Finland

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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