Canadian Forest Service Publications

Living without herbicides in Québec (Canada): historical context, current strategy, research and challenges in forest vegetation management. 2011. Thiffault, N.; Roy, V. Eur. J. Forest Res. 130: 117-133.

Year: 2011

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39737

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s10342-010-0373-4

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Mark record


Vegetation management is crucial to meeting the objectives of forest plantations. Following public hearing processes, chemical herbicides were banned on Crown forest lands in Québec (Canada) in 2001. Release now mainly relies on mechanical treatments. Our objectives are to review the historical context and the research conducted over the past 15 years that has led to the province’s current vegetation management strategy and to identify the major challenges of vegetation management being faced in Québec in the context of intensive silviculture and ecosystem-based management. Research has led to an integrated management model without herbicides, adapted to the ecological characteristics of reforestation sites. The Québec experience illustrates how, on most sites, vegetation management that is based on early reforestation, the use of tall planting stock and intensive mechanical release brings crop trees to the free-to-grow stage without the use of herbicides and without resulting in major effects on vegetation diversity. This vegetation management strategy is an asset in the implementation of ecosystem-based management. However, research demonstrates that mechanical release alone does not promote optimal crop-tree growth, due to rapid resprouting or suckering of competitors and competition from herbaceous species. Therefore, the current strategy poses important challenges in the management of plantations where the objective is to maximise wood production.