Canadian Forest Service Publications

Complex regeneration responses of eight tree species to partial harvest in mixedwood forests of northeastern North America. 2023. Bose, A.K.; Alcalá-Pajares, M.; Kern, C.C.; Montoro-Girona, M.; Thiffault, N. ScienceDirect 529 pages 1-12.

Year: 2023

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40895

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 1016

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Ecosystem-based forest management associated with partial harvesting (PH) is intended to balance ecological and economic values of sustainable forest management. The potential for delayed growth response and elevated mortality of advance regeneration following PH remains a critical concern, and may present a barrier to more widespread implementation of this approach. We used 835 permanent continuous forest inventory plots to examine the rate and time course of species-specific regeneration growth and mortality of eight tree species in the first fifteen years following operational partial harvests in the mixed-species forests of Maine, United States. We aimed to provide a quantitative understanding on how regeneration of different species responded to PH in terms of growth and mortality. In addition, we evaluated how the patterns and magnitudes of growth and mortality responses developed over time, if these responses occur gradually or suddenly, and if the patterns of the responses were persistent. We found that the response magnitude, temporal trajectories of responses, and the length of initial lag-period largely varied across species, PH treatments, and the variables examined. For sapling diameter growth, paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marshall) and red maple (Acer rubrum L.) showed immediate responses to high-intensity PH, while a five-year lag-period was observed in balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.), red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carri`ere) and a 10-year lag period in northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.). The initial increase in sapling mortality was observed in balsam fir, American beech, red maple and northern white-cedar, but not in other species. Sapling survival reached a stable state irrespective of species after the initial five-years following harvests. In partially harvested stands, identifying preharvest conditions related to postharvest density, growth, and mortality was complex and interacted with time since harvest. Our results suggest that broad application of PH only results in species-specific gains, losses, and delays in regeneration responses within mixed-species stands. Future research should consider PH in combination with other treatments to initiate immediate responses to a wider range of species.