In the Pacific Northwest, the use of forest vegetation management (FVM) and seedling stock type selection are important tools to ensure seedling establishment according to organizational objectives and state laws. Individually, these two reforestation decisions have been shown to increase growth and survival of Douglas-fir seedlings, however, the interaction between seedling stock type and level of vegetation control represents economic and ecologic tradeoffs that are less well understood. This study was designed to test the combined effects of three FVM regimes and three containerized stock types, one of which was experimental at the time, on Douglas-fir growth during the initial ten years of establishment on a site near Belfair, Washington (USA). When compared to the no-action control, FVM treatments reduced competitive plant cover below 20% during the year of application, and differences in vegetation cover persisted through the fifth growing season. Vegetation species diversity recovered quickly after FVM and there were no differences among the treatments by the third growing season. After ten growing seasons, trees in plots treated with FVM were 1.1 m taller with a mean diameter at breast height (DBH) 2.2 cm larger than those in the no-action control. Larger seedlings at the time of planting (styro-60) were 0.6 m taller with a mean DBH 1.1 cm larger than smaller seedlings (styro-8 and styro-15). The only significant stock type by FVM interaction in the experiment occurred with the survival of styro-60 seedlings growing in the no action control which had lower survival than all other treatment combinations (67% vs 91%). The long-term competitive impact of shrub cover was demonstrated by a strong non-linear relationship. Increasing cumulative shrub cover from 10% to 30% during the first two years of establishment reduced stand volume at year 10 by 79%.
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