Canadian Forest Service Publications

Long-term response of understory plant species to thinning and fertilization in a Douglas-fir plantation on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. 2000. He, F.; Barclay, H.J. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 30: 566-572.

Year: 2000

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5452

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)

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Abstract

The 27-year response of understory vegetation in a 51-year-old Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) forest to thinning and N fertilization treatments was examined in a silviculture experiment at Shawnigan Lake on southern Vancouver Island of British Columbia. The experiment was a two-way factorial design with three levels for each of thinning and N fertilization. No significant treatment effects on the number of either vascular or nonvascular species were detected. This was also true for the covers of the majority of understory species except salal (Gaultheria shallon Pursh) and Oregon beaked moss (Kindbergia oregana (Sull.) Ochyra). Heavy thinning led to high salal and Oregon beaked moss cover, whereas heavy fertilization resulted in lower cover of salal but had no effect on the cover of Oregon beaked moss. Although thinning had a marginal effect on the cover of canopy trees 27 years after treatment, the cover of the canopy trees had only minimal effects on understory vegetation. Conversely, no adverse effect of understory vegetation on canopy trees was found. This study suggested that after 27 years thinning and fertilization had little effect on understory vegetation whether in terms of species richness or vegetation cover. An effective way to conserve species diversity is to protect specific substrate types, e.g., tree trunks, stumps, and coarse woody debris. A commercial thinning was recommended to reduce the time of stem exclusion in similar type of forests.