Crafting a competitive edge: white spruce regeneration in Alaska.Author(s): Jonathan Thompson
Source: Science Findings 69. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionOver the past two decades, unprecedented levels of disturbance have occurred in the white spruce forests of Alaska. Spruce bark beetles, fires, and timber harvests have left millions of acres of dead spruce with little spruce regeneration. To assist public and private landowners, Pacific Northwest Research (PNW) Station scientists are testing various approaches to white spruce regeneration.
In search of a competitive advantage for spruce seedlings, experimental plots have been designed and replicated on five sites across Alaska. Researchers are testing mechanical and chemical approaches to removing competing plant species. Nursery seedlings of different sizes have been planted on each site and their growth rates are being monitored. Additionally, in an effort to improve wildlife habitat, some sites were planted with a mixture of hardwood species known to be palatable to moose.
Spruce seedlings benefited from both types of site preparation, although survival was highest on the sites pretreated with a common herbicide. The fastest growing seedlings were the ones that were largest when they were planted. Moose were attracted to the mixed species sites and assisted in spruce regeneration by keeping hardwoods from overtopping the spruce which suggests that multiple resource objectives could be approached simultaneously.
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CitationThompson, Jonathan. 2005. Crafting a competitive edge: white spruce regeneration in Alaska. Science Findings 69. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
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