Canadian Forest Service Publications

Soil nutrient and vegetation response to patch clear-cutting of an aspen forest near Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. 1998. Maynard, D.G.; MacIsaac, D.A. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 78: 59-68.

Year: 1998

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 4987

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free)

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Alternative silviculture systems, such as small patch clearcuts, may become important in the development of sustainable forest management strategies in aspen forests. A study was initiated in a 64-yr-old trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) stand in Meadow Lake Provincial Park. Saskatchewan to determine changes in nutrient dynamics and secondary succession following patch clear-cutting. One hectare replicated patch cuts were logged in the winter of 1993-1994. There was no site preparation following harvest. Annual vegetation, regeneration and soil and plant nutrient data were collected annually, 1 yr prior to, and 3 yr following harvest. Aspen regeneration was 48 375 stems ha-1 2 yr after treatment. Stand (alpha) diversity of the understory was not affected by harvesting, although annual species turnover (beta diversity) increased slightly after harvest. There was an increase in aspen foliar nitrogen (N) for 2 yr following harvest. Soil nutrient concentrations did not differ between patch cut and unharvested plots except total potassium (18% lower in the LFH of the harvested treatments 3 yr after harvesting). Small patch cuts with the litter horizon kept intact may be appropriate for aspen-dominated stands in the boreal mixed wood to minimize ecological disturbance while maintaining aesthetics within a park setting.