Canadian Forest Service Publications

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. 2010. Lafleur, B.; Fenton, N.J.; Paré, D.; Simard, M; Bergeron, Y. Silva Fennica 44(5): 799-813.

Year: 2010

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 31987

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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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.