Mid- and long-term effects of stock type on the growth and yield of spruce seedlings in a non-herbicide scenario
AbstractStock types used in reforestation projects can influence plantation success, as they determine the morphological attributes of the planted seedlings. They can also interact with silviculture treatments to influence early seedling survival and growth. As nurseries develop and produce new stock types in response to –and in interaction with– manager needs, research efforts must be pursued to validate early seedling performance and long-term growth and yields. In this context, we aimed to evaluate the main and interactive effects of mechanical site preparation and stock type on planted black (Picea mariana [Mill.] BSP) and white spruce (P. glauca [Moench.] Voss) seedling dimensions at 16-y, and estimate the long-term impact of stock type on the merchantable volume at rotation age for white spruce. We hence compared medium (200 cm3 root plug) and large (350 cm3 root plug) containerized seedlings, as well as large bare-root seedlings of both species, in a field experiment established in Quebec (Canada), where there is a ban on the use of chemical herbicides for vegetation management treatments. Our results confirm that there is a significant, although limited impact of stock type on the size of black and white spruce at the juvenile stage, when medium and large stock types are compared, but that these small differences have a negligible effect on the estimated merchantable volume produced at rotation age (60 years). Mechanical site preparation does not promote seedling growth on these rich sites with thin humus. Therefore, selection of a medium or larger stock type for reforestation projects and application of mechanical site preparation in ecosystems similar to the one studied here should be based on other considerations than growth and yield, such as seedling availability, production and planting costs, or operational constraints.
Copyright (c) 2018 Nelson Thiffault, Charles Ward
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