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Forests 2017, 8(9), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8090326

Development of Northern White-Cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) Plantations within and outside Deer Yards

1
Centre d’Étude de la Forêt (Centre for Forest Research), Département des Sciences du Bois et de la Forêt, Université Laval, 2405 de la Terrasse, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
2
Centre d’Étude de la Forêt et Chaire de Recherche sur la Forêt Habitée, Département de Biologie, Chimie et Géographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, P.O. Box 3300, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 August 2017 / Revised: 29 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract

Regional surveys done over the last decades show a clear decline in abundance of Northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) throughout its range. A lack of seed trees, difficulties in the establishment of natural regeneration and high browsing pressure caused by increasing deer populations have been identified as plausible causes. Current silvicultural strategies for cedar restoration recommend partial cutting to promote and release natural regeneration, but there is also a need to restore the species in areas where it became absent. Yet, little attention has been given to cedar plantations. This study provides a first characterisation of the effects of competition, silvicultural treatments and deer, moose and hare browsing on planted cedar growth, survival, and stem form. Pure and mixed cedar plantations aged 5–27 years located in Eastern Québec were sampled. Both inside and outside deer yards, planted cedars showed high survival rates and were generally subject to low browsing pressure, but 45% were forked. Cedars showed high growth rates and strong reaction to stand opening. Results suggest that at reduced competition levels, a 9-year browser exclusion could be sufficient to establish safe-from-browsing cedar stands of >3 m in height. View Full-Text
Keywords: Thuja occidentalis; northern white-cedar; eastern white-cedar; plantation; browsing; white-tailed deer; snowshoe hare; restoration; growth rate Thuja occidentalis; northern white-cedar; eastern white-cedar; plantation; browsing; white-tailed deer; snowshoe hare; restoration; growth rate
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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. (CC BY 4.0).
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Villemaire-Côté, O.; Ruel, J.-C.; Sirois, L. Development of Northern White-Cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) Plantations within and outside Deer Yards. Forests 2017, 8, 326.

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