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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
- 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.
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