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

  • Author / Creator
    Graham, Erica E.
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Forest Biology and Management
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Grover, Brigitte (Renewable Resources)
    • Bork, Edward (Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science)
    • Comeau, Philip (Renewable Resources)