Canadian Forest Service Publications

Group-selection silviculture conditionally enhances recruitment of yellow birch in a shade-tolerant hardwood forest. 2019. Shabaga, J.A.; Jones, T.A.; Elliott, K.A. Forest Ecology and Management 444: 244-255.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39875

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2019.04.029

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Plain Language Summary

Wide-spread use of single-tree harvest methods has inhibited regeneration of yellow birch in hardwood forests. Group selection produces large gaps that may favour recruitment of mid/intolerant tree species like yellow birch. We evaluated how well yellow birch became established and grew in two types of group selection treatments: “typical” gaps placed in suitable microsites, and indiscriminate “systematic” interval gaps harvested on a grid. Unharvested controls and single tree selection resulted in no yellow birch recruitment regardless of season of harvest. Autumn-harvested gaps established 2–4× more yellow birch cover and recruited 7–10× more large stems by year ten than typical single tree selection and winter harvested gaps. Soil disturbance and seed tree proximity were probably responsible for the increased establishment of yellow birch cover in year 1, which resulted in greater recruitment by year 10. These results indicate that autumn-harvested typical gaps optimised germination and growth conditions for yellow birch (light availability, soil disturbance, reduced competition, seed proximity/dispersal). Consequently, group selection harvesting in autumn can be considered an effective treatment for yellow birch recruitment in hardwood forests.