Canadian Forest Service Publications
Managing conservation values and tree performance: lessons learned from 10 year experiments in regenerating eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.). 2018. Santala, K.; Aubin, I.; Hoepting, M.; Bachand, M.; Pitt, D. Forest Ecology and Management 432: 748-760.
Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 39377
Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
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Plain Language Summary
A common forestry practice following harvest is to control vegetation that could compete with planted trees but there are concerns of negative impacts on understory plant diversity. Understory plants can be a good indicator of recovery after forest harvesting. To investigate this, we compared white pine growth and understory plant diversity under several vegetation competition control treatments over 10 years following planting within two forestry systems in Ontario and New Brunswick: clearcut (all canopy trees removed) vs. shelterwood (a portion of canopy trees remaining). Treatments included controlling only woody or non-woody competitive plants, or both for different lengths of time. At shelterwood sites, plots with either one or four years of annually applied vegetation control for all competitive plants had good white pine growth and tended to have more plants typical of mature forests. Controlling only woody or non-woody plants caused competitive plants to dominate these treatments. The clearcut site tended to have more competitive vegetation. Our findings suggest that a balance can be struck between multiple management objectives. In the case of eastern white pine, it is likely that early control of plant competition and maintaining a portion of forest canopy cover is necessary to (1) favour white pine survival and growth; and (2) conserve understory plant diversity.