Patterns of above- and below-ground response of understory conifer release 6 years after partial cutting

Kneeshaw, D.D.; Williams, H.; Nikinmaa, E. et Messier, C. (2002). « Patterns of above- and below-ground response of understory conifer release 6 years after partial cutting ». Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 32, pp. 255-265.

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An increased pressure to use silvicultural techniques not based on clear-cutting followed by planting has led to an interest in systems that take advantage of existing understory seedlings (advance regeneration). Earlier studies have suggested that following harvesting, understory seedlings may experience growth reductions before responding with growth increases. We hypothesize that this "growth shock" following release results because seedlings are ill adjusted to the new growing conditions and that this can be investigated through a comparison of growth in different parts of the tree over a 6-year period. This study compares the growth response of three size classes of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud.) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings to a partial overstory removal in relatively dry conifer forests of central British Columbia. Growth was evaluated in four parts of the studied trees: radial increment in roots, in the base of the stem, and in branches, as well as leader height growth extension. Our findings show that following release from the overstory, early growth increases were largest in the roots and stems irrespective of the species or the size class. Differences between the species were observed in greater absolute height growth for pine, whereas Douglas-fir invested in greater stem growth, especially in the larger individuals. Important differences also occurred temporally. Both species (and all size classes) responded with an immediate increase in root growth followed, after a 1-year delay, by an increase in stem growth. Branch radial increment (for pine) and leader height growth (both species), however, experienced 2 to 3 year growth reductions before responding. It is therefore suggested that individuals restore the root-shoot balance by greater initial investments to root growth to offset the increased transpiration losses associated with the greater light and higher temperature conditions and the relative changes in the photosynthetic versus nutrient uptake capacity following the canopy opening. Foresters may therefore be able to manipulate tree growth responses by using an appropriate degree of overstory removal or opening size.

Type: Article de revue scientifique
Mots-clés ou Sujets: patterns, above-ground response, below-ground response, understory conifer, seedlings
Unité d'appartenance: Faculté des sciences > Département des sciences biologiques
Déposé par: Christian Messier
Date de dépôt: 07 janv. 2009
Dernière modification: 01 nov. 2014 02:06
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