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The effects of underplanted white spruce on understory environment and vegetation in aspen-dominated stands of the western boreal forest Open Access


Other title
boreal forest
white spruce
understory vegetation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Graham, Erica E.
Supervisor and department
Macdonald, Ellen (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Grover, Brigitte (Renewable Resources)
Bork, Edward (Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science)
Comeau, Philip (Renewable Resources)
Department of Renewable Resources
Forest Biology and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
In the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada, underplanting white spruce (Picea glauca) in aspen (Populus tremuloides) forests attempts to address concerns about "unmixing the mixedwoods". Important ecological differences exist between mixedwood, broadleaf and conifer forests. I studied changes in understory environment and vegetation of underplanted stands, and examined how changes related to distance from individual spruce. No changes were observed 4-5 and 10 years after underplanting. Forest floor pH and microbial nitrogen increased within one meter of 15 year old spruce. By 48 years after underplanting, litter and FH depths, soil sulphur, and forest floor pH increased; soil temperature, light, vegetation cover, total and herb richness and Shannon.s Diversity Index decreased. These effects had limited spatial extent, occurring only within 1-2 meters from the spruce. If the overstory aspen are harvested, the underplanted white spruce may have greater influence on the understory environment and vegetation in the subsequent regenerating stands.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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