Canadian Forest Service Publications

Exploring factors influencing species natural regeneration response following harvesting in the Acadian Forests of New Brunswick. Salmon, L.; Kershaw, J.A., Taylor, A.R.; Krasowski, M.; Lavigne, M.B. 2016. Open Journal of Forestry 6: 199-215.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39177

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.4236/ojf.2016.63017

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In the Acadian Forest Region of northeastern North America, forest managers are under increasing public pressure to restore the forest to a more historic, natural condition by reducing in clearcutting and promoting partial-cut treatments that more closely emulate historic, local natural disturbance regimes. However, although numerous studies on the effects of partial-cutting on forest regeneration response have been conducted in surrounding temperate and boreal forest ecosystems, there are few studies that directly explore responses to various forms of harvesting within the Acadian Forest ecosystem, with its unique mixture of northern hardwoods and boreal forest species. Here, we conducted one of the first retrospective studies on forest regeneration following a variety of harvesting methods in the Acadian Forest using univariate and multivariate regression trees to assess regeneration response in 50 naturally-regenerating, harvested forest sites in New Brunswick, Canada. Our study shows that regeneration was highly influenced by harvest type, overstory composition, and environmental conditions as reflected by ecoregion classification. Canopy opening size (as controlled by harvest method) significantly influenced the dominance of regenerating species. The presence of conspecific overstory trees increased the likelihood of their regeneration following disturbance, supporting the direct-regeneration hypothesis, especially for species with limited seed dispersal (e.g., sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.). Despite reported problems elsewhere in eastern North America, neither American beech nor balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) constituted significant competition for the desired species on a broad scale, but the presence of beech was a significant deterrent for yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.).

Plain Language Summary

This study investigates how different partial-cutting silvicultural methods affect forest regeneration in the Acadian Forest of Eastern Canada. By assessing a sample of 50 naturally regenerating harvested forest sites in New Brunswick, this study found that regeneration composition and structure was highly influenced by harvest type, pre- and post-disturbance overstorey composition, and site conditions (e.g., soils).