Regeneration of Populus nine years after variable retention harvest in boreal mixedwood forests

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Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN: 0378-1127, Vol: 259, Issue: 3, Page: 383-389

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Gradowski, Tomasz; Lieffers, Victor J; Landhausser, Simon M; Sidders, Derek; Volney, Jan; Spence, John R
Elsevier BV
Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Environmental Science; suckering; variable retention harvest; forest regeneration; Forest Sciences
article description
Aspen and balsam poplar regeneration from root suckers were assessed in boreal mixedwood forests nine years after logging in a variable retention experiment (EMEND Project—Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance) located north of Peace River, Alberta, Canada. Five levels of retention of mature trees (2%, 10%, 20%, 50% or 75% of the original basal area) were applied in stands dominated by aspen, white spruce or mixtures of the two species. Basal area of aspen (or that of aspen plus balsam poplar combined) prior to logging strongly influenced sucker density of aspen (or aspen + balsam poplar combined) and in some cases their growth. Nine years after harvest there was a decline in sucker density and volume ha −1 with increasing retention levels of aspen (or both poplars combined); sucker density declined by 50% when only 20% of the original basal area was left in the stand. Retaining mature spruce trees in the stand had little influence on the number of suckers but did affect their total volume ha −1. Thus, we suggest that by knowing stand aspen and balsam poplar density prior to logging and varying levels of retention of aspen and balsam poplar or conifers at harvest, the density of Populus regeneration can be predicted by managers, thereby allowing them to create a range of mixedwood conditions.