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Forests 2013, 4(2), 364-385; doi:10.3390/f4020364

Ecosystem Responses to Partial Harvesting in Eastern Boreal Mixedwood Stands

1,* , 2
1 Institut de recherche sur les forêts, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), 445 blv Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada 2 Sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, CP 8888 Succursale Centre-Ville, Montreal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada 3 CEGEP de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda (Québec), J9X 5E5, Canada 4 School of Natural Resources and the Environment, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, 325 BioSciences East, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA 5 Amazonian Network for Biodiversity and Biotechnology Graduate Program (BIONORTE), Maranhão State University (UEMA), Cidade Universitária Paulo VI S/N, Tirirical, São Luis, MA 65055-970, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 9 May 2013 / Accepted: 10 May 2013 / Published: 22 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Restoration and Regeneration)
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Partial harvesting has been proposed as a key aspect to implementing ecosystem management in the Canadian boreal forest. We report on a replicated experiment located in boreal mixedwoods of Northwestern Quebec. In the winter of 2000–2001, two partial harvesting treatments, one using a dispersed pattern, and a second, which created a (400 m2) gap pattern, were applied to a 90-year-old aspen-dominated mixed stand. The design also included a clear cut and a control. Over the course of the following eight years, live tree, coarse woody debris, regeneration and ground beetles were inventoried at variable intervals. Our results indicate that all harvesting treatments created conditions favorable to balsam fir (Abies balsamea) sapling growth and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) sapling recruitment. However, balsam fir and trembling aspen regeneration and ground beetles response to gap cuts were closer to patterns observed in clear cuts than in dispersed harvesting. The underlying reasons for these differing patterns can be linked to factors associated with the contrasting light regimes created by the two partial harvesting treatments. The study confirms that partially harvesting is an ecologically sound approach in boreal mixedwoods and could contribute to maintaining the distribution of stand ages at the landscape level.
Keywords: forest ecosystem management; boreal mixedwoods; forest regeneration; coarse woody debris; ground beetles; succession; biodiversity forest ecosystem management; boreal mixedwoods; forest regeneration; coarse woody debris; ground beetles; succession; biodiversity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Brais, S.; Work, T.T.; Robert, É.; O'Connor, C.D.; Strukelj, M.; Bose, A.; Celentano, D.; Harvey, B.D. Ecosystem Responses to Partial Harvesting in Eastern Boreal Mixedwood Stands. Forests 2013, 4, 364-385.

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