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Vegetation Control Treatments to Favor Naturally Regenerated Betula alleghaniensis Saplings Following Seed-Tree Cut: Sapling Monitoring Two Years after Treatment

Authors

  • Daniel Bouffard,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut Québécois d'Aménagement de la Forêt Feuillue (IQAFF), 58 Rue Principale, Ripon, QC, Canada J0V 1V0
      Address correspondence to D. Bouffard, email dbouffard@iqaff.qc.ca
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  • Philippe Nolet,

    1. Institut Québécois d'Aménagement de la Forêt Feuillue (IQAFF), 58 Rue Principale, Ripon, QC, Canada J0V 1V0
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  • Sylvain Delagrange,

    1. Institut Québécois d'Aménagement de la Forêt Feuillue (IQAFF), 58 Rue Principale, Ripon, QC, Canada J0V 1V0
    2. Université du Québec an Outaouais (UQO), C.P. 1250, Succursalle Hull, Gatineau, QC, Canada J8X 3X7
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  • François Lorenzetti,

    1. Institut Québécois d'Aménagement de la Forêt Feuillue (IQAFF), 58 Rue Principale, Ripon, QC, Canada J0V 1V0
    2. Université du Québec an Outaouais (UQO), C.P. 1250, Succursalle Hull, Gatineau, QC, Canada J8X 3X7
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  • Stephen Yamasaki

    1. Institut Québécois d'Aménagement de la Forêt Feuillue (IQAFF), 58 Rue Principale, Ripon, QC, Canada J0V 1V0
    2. Université du Québec an Outaouais (UQO), C.P. 1250, Succursalle Hull, Gatineau, QC, Canada J8X 3X7
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Address correspondence to D. Bouffard, email dbouffard@iqaff.qc.ca

Abstract

Control of competing vegetation is recommended to ensure successful Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) regeneration within juvenile stands that do not sustain high enough sapling densities of this species. Four contrasting vegetation control treatments were tested to determine their effect on the growth and vigor of eight-year-old B. alleghaniensis saplings regenerating after final cutting of a shelterwood seed cut. Vegetation control treatments were TC (total circular removal), PC (circular removal of codominant competing vegetation), TS (total semicircular removal on 180° section), and NC (no vegetation control). Two years after treatment application, diameter growth significantly improved in response to vegetation control treatments, whereas sapling height growth did not. This pattern of biomass allocation was directly related to sapling etiolation, which increased with decreasing severity of vegetation removal. As a result, application of vegetation control, especially TC and PC treatments, was valuable in reducing signs of stress in saplings. However, increasing the severity of vegetation removal also made saplings more conspicuous to herbivores, which increased browsing, especially in the TC and PC treatments. Browsing was sufficient in some plots of the TC and PC treatments to overcome the vigor and diameter growth enhancements observed when browsing was negligible. In contrast to the TC and PC treatments, the TS treatment kept browsing very low while largely removing competition. The results suggest that B. alleghaniensis saplings established after final cutting of a shelterwood seed cut do take advantage of vegetation control treatments, but the decision to apply these treatments must include consideration of local herbivore population densities.

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