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Title: An alternative to clear-cutting in the boreal forest of Alaska: a 27-year study of regeneration after shelterwood harvesting.

Author: Wurtz, T.L.; Zasada, J.C.;

Date: 2001

Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 31: 999-1011

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We present 27-year results from a comparison of clear-cutting and shelterwood harvesting in the boreal forest of Alaska. Three patch clearcut and three shelterwood units were harvested in 1972; about 100 dispersed white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) leave trees per hectare were retained in the shelterwoods. Units were mechanically scarified and an exceptionally large seed-crop was dispersed that year. Shelterwood trees were removed after 15 years. After 27 years, overstory treatment had no effect on the density or growth of the species we studied, while scarification had highly significant effects. In 1999, scarified areas were densely populated with white spruce seedlings and saplings (118 000 – 129 000 stems/ha, with spruce in 100% of plots). Unscarified areas had far fewer spruce stems but were nevertheless well stocked (11 000 –15 000 stems/ha, with 87% frequency). Initially, spruce grew best on scarified surfaces, but by 27 years, growth of the tallest spruce saplings was significantly greater on unscarified than scarified surfaces. By 27 years, cover of the grass Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.) Nutt. had returned to preharvest levels in all treatment types. Because criteria for evaluating forest management practices have changed since this study was begun, partial overstory retention systems for the management of Alaska’s boreal forest deserve further study.

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Wurtz, T.L.; Zasada, J.C. 2001. An alternative to clear-cutting in the boreal forest of Alaska: a 27-year study of regeneration after shelterwood harvesting. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 31: 999-1011


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