ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0515.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Forestry Keywords: balsam fir; white spruce; seedlings; partial cut; plantation; naturals stands; light; seed rain
Online: 30 August 2018 (05:36:10 CEST)
This study documents the conditions associated to white spruce and balsam fir regeneration after partial cutting. Measurements were collected 9 to 30 years after partial cutting in 12 natural fir stands and 5 white spruce plantations. We estimated seed input, measured light reaching the undergrowth, recorded seedlings (<150 cm) and their age on 6 different seedling establishment substrates: mineral soil, moss, rotten wood, litterfall, herbaceous and dead wood. Partial cutting generally favours the establishment and growth of seedlings. The number of fir and spruce seedlings is always greater in natural stands than in plantations, a trend likely associated with the reduced abundance of preferential establishment substrate in the latter. White spruce significantly prefers rotten wood while fir settles on all types of substrates that cover at least 10% of the forest floor. There is a strong relationship between light intensity and the median height of spruce seedlings, but this relationship is non-significant for fir. Seedlings of both species can survive at incident light intensities as low as 3%, but an intensity of 15% or more seems to offer the best growth conditions. The conditions for successful forest regeneration proposed in this study should be applied when the goal is to establish a new stand prior to clear cutting or to convert stand structure.