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Benoit Lafleur (email), Nicole J. Fenton, David Paré, Martin Simard, Yves Bergeron

Contrasting effects of season and method of harvest on soil properties and the growth of black spruce regeneration in the boreal forested peatlands of eastern Canada

Lafleur B., Fenton N. J., Paré D., Simard M., Bergeron Y. (2010). Contrasting effects of season and method of harvest on soil properties and the growth of black spruce regeneration in the boreal forested peatlands of eastern Canada. Silva Fennica vol. 44 no. 5 article id 122. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.122

Abstract

It has been suggested that without sufficient soil disturbance, harvest in boreal forested peatlands may accelerate paludification and reduce forest productivity. The objectives of this study were to compare the effects of harvest methods (clearcutting vs. careful logging) and season (summer vs. winter harvest) on black spruce regeneration and growth in boreal forested peatlands of eastern Canada, and to identify the soil variables that favour tree growth following harvest. Moreover, we sought to determine how stand growth following harvest compared with that observed following fire. The average tree height of summer clearcuts was greater than that of summer carefully logged stands and that of all winter harvested sites. Summer clearcutting also resulted in a higher density of trees > 3 m and > 4 m tall and in a 50% reduction in Rhododendron groenlandicum cover, a species associated with reduced black spruce growth. Height growth of sample trees was related to foliar N and P concentrations, and to soil total N, pH and available Ca and Mg but not to harvest method or season. Our results also indicate that summer clearcutting could produce stand productivity levels comparable to those observed after high-severity soil burns. These results suggest that summer clearcutting could be used to restore forest productivity following harvest in forested peatlands, and offer further support to the idea that sufficient levels of soil disturbance may be required to restore productivity in ecosystems undergoing paludification.

Keywords
soil disturbance; peatland; Picea mariana; careful logging; clearcutting; paludification; forest productivity

Author Info
  • Lafleur, NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boul. de l’Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada E-mail benoit.lafleur@uqat.ca (email)
  • Fenton, NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boul. de l’Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada E-mail njf@nn.ca
  • Paré, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055 du P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 10380, Stn. Sainte-Foy, QC G1V 4C7, Canada E-mail dp@nn.ca
  • Simard, Département de Géographie, Université Laval, Pavillon Abitibi-Price, 2405 rue de la Terrasse, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada E-mail ms@nn.ca
  • Bergeron, NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boul. de l’Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada E-mail yb@nn.ca

Received 17 June 2010 Accepted 18 November 2010 Published 31 December 2010

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Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.122 | Download PDF

Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0

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