Canadian Forest Service Publications

Increasing the intensity of regeneration treatments decreased beta diversity of temperate hardwood forest understory 20 years after disturbance. Jaeger, R., Delagrange, S., Aubin, I. et al. Annals of Forest Science 79, 39 (2022).

Year: 2022

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40833

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1186/s13595-022-01152-w

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Plain Language Summary

A better understanding of how the forest understory changes after harvesting is crucial to favouring tree regeneration and stand productivity in temperate forest ecosystems. We assessed changes in soil conditions and plant species composition over a 20-year period in the understory (i.e., forest floor) in 6 temperate forest stands in southern Qu├ębec. These stands underwent three different types of harvests and observed changes were compared to those of 80-year-old reference forests The results here suggest that more intense treatments (group selection cuts) show persistent changes in soil properties than single tree cuts, particularly in the surface soil layer (lower organic layer thickness, C:N ratio and exchangeable K). As well, more intense treatments had long-term impacts on understory plant communities. Both group selection treatments contributed to the persistence of highly competitive species through time while site preparation (soil scarification) negatively affected the abundance of understory species that are sensitive to harvesting. Similar to the reference forest, species composition and structure in stands that underwent single tree cuts were more like the undisturbed reference stands. Such studies are necessary to better understand the longer-term effects of harvesting on soil conditions and how those changes influence patterns of ecological succession in understory plant communities.