Seedling Establishment on a Forest Restoration Site: An Ecophysiological Perspective

Seedling Establishment on a Forest Restoration Site

An Ecophysiological Perspective


  • Steven Grossnickle NurseryToForest Solutions



Seedling field performance is affected by both their quality and reforestation site conditions. Seedlings enter the establishment phase when they start to develop root systems into the surrounding soil and are coupled to the restoration site. Once seedlings are established, their inherent growth potential is related to morphological and physiological attributes and their ecophysiological response to site environmental conditions, which ultimately determines field performance. This establishment phase is a time when seedlings developed with certain nursery cultural practices begin to respond to site conditions. This phase is also a period when silvicultural practices have created microsites intended to benefit established seedlings field performance. Seedlings can be exposed to a wide range of environmental conditions during the establishment phase, some of which may be extreme enough to exceed their ability to physiologically tolerate environmental stress. When this occurs, seedling growth on the restoration site is reduced. On the other hand, this phase can provide planted seedlings with ideal environmental conditions that allow for an optimum physiological response and maximization of their growth potential. An understanding of the ecophysiological capability of planted seedlings can ensure they have the best chance at rapid stand establishment.


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Author Biography

Steven Grossnickle, NurseryToForest Solutions

Steve has conducted work in the plant sciences/forestry field for over thirty years within university and industry programs throughout the U.S. and Canada, regarding ecological and physiological processes of plants in operational nurseries and forested areas. These research programs focused on areas of genetic diversity, and the performance and development of plants in relation to nursery practices, silvicultural operations and ecosystem restoration. Steve has collaborated with the nursery industry, both forestry and horticulture, and the forest industry to address operational issues.Steve has earned an international reputation as a scientist and practitioner addressing basic biological and ecological processes of plants within research, extension and educational programs. These programs were conducted with external partners in universities, government, and the nursery and forest industries. Steve has published a book (Titled: Ecophysiology of Northern Spruce Species: The Performance of Planted Seedlings), 69 refereed scientific journal papers and chapters, 26 technical transfer papers and 4 patents. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resource Management from Southern Illinois University, and a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Colorado State University in Plant Physiological Ecology.




How to Cite

Grossnickle, Steven. “Seedling Establishment on a Forest Restoration Site: An Ecophysiological Perspective”. REFORESTA, no. 6 (December 28, 2018): 110–139. Accessed March 1, 2024.



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