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Effect of vegetation control, harvest intensity, and soil disturbance on 20-year jack pine stand development

Fleming, R.L., Leblanc, J.-D., Weldon, T., Hazlett, P.W., Mossa, D.S., Irwin, R., Primavera, M.J., Wilson, S.A.
Canadian journal of forest research 2018 v.48 no.4 pp. 371-387
Pinus banksiana, biomass, disturbed soils, field experimentation, forest litter, glyphosate, harvesting, natural regeneration, stand development, stand structure, tree growth, trenching, uncertainty, vegetation, Ontario
Currently, there are uncertainties regarding the impacts and (or) efficacy of biomass harvesting and silvicultural practices on stand production on coarse-textured boreal soils. Replicated factorial field experiments examining effects of complete vegetation control (repeated glyphosate application) following operational stem-only harvest with disc trenching (SOT), operational whole-tree harvest with (WTT) and without (WT) disc trenching, and whole-tree harvest with complete forest floor removal by blading (WTB) and blading followed by compaction (WTBC) were installed on four sandy northern Ontario jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) sites. Over 20 years, WTB improved planted-tree survival but decreased longer term stand productivity in comparison with other harvest intensity – soil disturbance treatments. Vegetation control improved tree growth and stand productivity initially, but over time, benefits declined substantially. SOT and WTT had similar impacts on stand production. Disc trenching improved initial planted-tree growth (WTT vs. WT), particularly without vegetation control. Jack pine natural regeneration was greatest with SOT, accounting for 25% of stand biomass at year 20. Stand structure effects included increased size inequality of naturals with WTB and reduced size inequality and asymmetry of naturals with vegetation control. Overall, impacts of forest floor removal and natural regeneration on stand development have become increasingly important over time compared with those of vegetation control.