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Forests 2013, 4(1), 85-103; doi:10.3390/f4010085
Article

The Importance of Microtopography and Nurse Canopy for Successful Restoration Planting of the Slow-Growing Conifer Pilgerodendron uviferum

1,* , 2
,
2
 and
1
1 Chair of Silviculture, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs University, Tennenbacherstrasse 4, Freiburg, D-79106, Germany 2 Institute of Silviculture, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, 5090000, Chile
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 November 2012 / Revised: 20 December 2012 / Accepted: 7 January 2013 / Published: 16 January 2013
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Abstract

Recent studies have shown that, owing to a lack of seed trees, the natural rate of recovery of fire-disturbed bog forests previously dominated by the endemic and endangered conifer Pilgerodendron uviferum (D. Don) Florin is extremely slow. Hence, increasing the number of seed trees in the landscape through restoration planting could remove the principal biotic filter, limiting recovery of these forests. Here, we analyzed how the success of restoration plantings may be improved through the choice or manipulation of microsites in P. uviferum forests on Chiloé Island in North Patagonia. For this purpose, we manipulated microtopography in water-logged sites in bogs (mounds, flat terrain, mineral soil) and changed canopy conditions (gaps, semi-open, closed canopy) in upland sites with better drainage. In bogs, there was no significant effect of microtopography on growth and survival of P. uviferum plantings. However, fluorescence measurements indicated lower stress in seedlings established on mounds. Seedlings in upland areas established beneath a nurse canopy had lower mortality and higher relative shoot growth, foliar nutrients, photosynthetic light use efficiency and chlorophyll fluorescence values than those planted in the open. This indicates that seedlings of the slow growing P. uviferum can tolerate extremely wet conditions, yet suffer from stress when grown in the open. Here, the removal of canopy appeared to have also removed or reduced mycorrhizal networks for seedlings, leading to poorer nutrition and growth. Based on these results, recommendations for restoration plantings in highly degraded P. uviferum forests are presented.
Keywords: active restoration; conifer bog forests; Chiloé Island; North Patagonia; seedling growth; Sphagnum active restoration; conifer bog forests; Chiloé Island; North Patagonia; seedling growth; Sphagnum
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Bannister, J.R.; Coopman, R.E.; Donoso, P.J.; Bauhus, J. The Importance of Microtopography and Nurse Canopy for Successful Restoration Planting of the Slow-Growing Conifer Pilgerodendron uviferum. Forests 2013, 4, 85-103.

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