Direct Seeding in Reforestation – A Field Performance Review
AbstractDirect seeding has been considered a forest restoration option for centuries. Over the past half century, the use of this practice has declined in developed countries as forest regeneration programs have advanced with the production of quality seedlings that can successfully establish restoration sites. Direct seeding is being reconsidered as a restoration option as the potential size of the worldwide forest restoration program has grown because of massive deforestation in third-world nations and due to global climate change. This review examines direct seeding from a number of perspectives. First, merits of using this practice in restoration programs are defined. Major merits of this option are that it can be done quickly, over hard to reach and large disturbed areas, and at a relatively low cost. Second, current research findings from restoration programs are discussed. The major finding is that seedling establishment rates are low (i.e. typically around 20% of seeds planted) due to site conditions, seed predation and vegetation competition, and field performance (i.e. survival and growth) is lower than planted seedlings. Third, operational practices for the application in restoration programs are reviewed. To successfully conduct direct seeding programs practitioners need to consider seedbed receptivity, seed distribution and seeding rate. Fourth, potential new practices are presented. Some of these new practices attempt to create a more effective means to disperse seed across the site, minimize seed predation or create a more favorable microsite environment. This review provides a synthesis of what is known about direct seeding, thereby allowing practitioners to make a rational decision of whether to apply this practice towards their forest restoration program.
Copyright (c) 2017 Steven C Grossnickle, Vladan Ivetić
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