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Open AccessArticle

Afforestation of Boreal Open Woodlands: Early Performance and Ecophysiology of Planted Black Spruce Seedlings

1
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Département des Sciences Fondamentales, 555 Boul, Université, Chicoutimi (Qc) G7H 2B1, Canada
2
MRC du Fjord du Saguenay, 3110 Boul, Martel, Saint-Honoré (Qc) G0V 1L0, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2013, 4(2), 433-454; https://doi.org/10.3390/f4020433
Received: 16 April 2013 / Revised: 24 May 2013 / Accepted: 29 May 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Restoration and Regeneration)
Open lichen woodlands (LWs) are degraded stands that lack the ability to regenerate naturally due to a succession of natural and/or anthropogenic disturbances. As they represent both interesting forest restoration and carbon sequestration opportunities, we tested disc scarification and planting of two sizes of containerized black spruce (Picea mariana Mill. (BSP)) seedlings for their afforestation. We compared treatment of unproductive LWs to reforestation of harvested, closed-crown black spruce-feathermoss (BSFM) stands. After one year, seedling survival and nutritional status were equivalent among stand types but despite higher root elongation index (REI), planted seedlings in LWs had lower relative growth rate, smaller total biomass and stem diameter than those in BSFM stands. Soil fertility variables, soil temperature, nor seedling water potential, helped at explaining this early growth response. Disc scarification significantly improved seedling first-year survival, biomass and foliar nutrient concentrations of P, Ca, and Mg. Smaller planting stock showed higher REI, higher shoot water potential, and higher foliar nutrient concentration of all but one of the measured nutrients (N, P, K and Mg). Hence, preliminary results suggest that planting of smaller containerized black spruce stock, combined with disc scarification, shows potential for afforestation of unproductive LWs. The impact of the lichen mat and other potential growth limiting factors on afforestation of these sites requires further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: afforestation; black spruce; Picea mariana; lichen woodland; growth limitation; ecophysiology; carbon sequestration afforestation; black spruce; Picea mariana; lichen woodland; growth limitation; ecophysiology; carbon sequestration
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Tremblay, P.; Boucher, J.-F.; Tremblay, M.; Lord, D. Afforestation of Boreal Open Woodlands: Early Performance and Ecophysiology of Planted Black Spruce Seedlings. Forests 2013, 4, 433-454.

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