Canadian Forest Service Publications

Growth response and water relations of 3-year-old planted black spruce and jack pine seedlings in site prepared lichen woodlands. 2006. Hébert, F.; Boucher, J.-F.; Bernier, P.Y.; Lord, D. For. Ecol. Manag. 223: 226-236.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26971

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Black spruce-lichen woodlands are low tree density stands within the closed crown, North American boreal forest that represent a diverging post-fire type of black spruce forest. As natural densification of lichen woodlands has never been observed, afforestation remains the only way of shifting these stands to closed canopy stands. The objective of the study was to evaluate site preparation effects on growth and water relations of black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) seedlings in black spruce-lichen woodlands (LW), compared to managed black spruce-feathermoss stands (BSFM). Site preparation treatments in LW were no preparation (LWno), patch scarification (LWps), and disk scarification (LWds). The operationally managed BSFM stands stood for the control. Results from the third growing season indicate that soil water availability in intact or lightly prepared patch scarified LWis a limiting variable for seedling growth for both black spruce and jack pine seedlings. However, once LW are prepared with disk scarification, this planting check factor is significantly reduced, to the point of being equal to BSFM in terms of water availability and seedling water relations. The significant seedling growth difference, in favor of BSFM, might be a consequence of the lower level of pre-plantation disturbance in LW, compared to BSFM. Our results also suggest that jack pine, through higher water stress tolerance, could constitute a wise silvicultural choice over black spruce, especially with LW established on coarse drought-prone material.