Canadian Forest Service Publications

The interaction between competition in interior Douglas-fir plantations and disease caused by Armillaria ostoyae in British Columbia. 2009. Cruickshank, M.G.; Morrison, D.J.; Lalumière, A. Forest Ecology and Management 257(2): 443-452.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29217

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.09.013

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Interior Douglas-fir trees in plantations were assessed for size differences related to the level of diseased neighbours infected with Armillaria ostoyae. The four Douglas-fir stands studied ranged from 25- to 34-year-old, and represented the oldest accessible planted stands in the Interior Cedar Hemlock (ICH) ecosystem in British Columbia. Twenty-three to 25, 10-m radius plots were established in each stand. The spatial coordinates, total height, and diameter at breast height of all live and dead trees in the plots were recorded. Subject trees whose competitors were contained in the 10-m radius plots were also identified. Trees were pulled out of the soil using a mechanical excavator and the root systems were surveyed for evidence of infection by A. ostoyae. Stem disks were taken from each tree at 1.3 m above the ground for a determination of basal area. Increasing proportion of diseased trees in the plots resulted in less total plot basal area, but did not affect the mean basal area or height. Individual subject tree basal area was negatively related to the level of disease in surrounding competitors, opposite to expectations; however, diseased subject trees had reduced height and basal area compared to disease-free subject trees. Increasing competition reduced both the height and basal area of the trees, while regular distribution of all trees increased both total and mean plot basal area but not height. Disease incidence at the plot level and in individual subject trees was mainly affected by the neighbourhood conditions in which it grew, and was also related to disease intensity in the tree root systems. Although disease may alter resource partitioning among trees, the utilization of these resources is mostly limited by the increasing disease incidence as the stands age, the higher probability of larger trees being diseased with time, the occurrence of dead trees in clumps, and the high probability that dead trees will eventually infect live neighbours. The widespread belowground incidence of A. ostoyae in the ICH, its rapid colonization of stumps, and its wide host range can reduce site potential in managed stands.