Some problems that affect white spruce silviculture in West-Central Canada

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Jarvis, Jack Mitchell
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In West-Central Canada white spruce, one of the most sought-after species, does not regenerate satisfactorily after logging. This is causing much concern amongst industry and government agencies because without adequate regeneration the white spruce logging industry is doomed. This report reviews the autecology of white spruce and trembling aspen, emphasizing those characteristics that influence reproduction. White spruce is dependent entirely on seed for continued survival. Most habitats in the undisturbed and cut-over forests are not conducive to good seedling establishment, so the species fails to regenerate adequately. On the other hand, trembling aspen can reproduce by vegetative means as well as by seed and as a result this species becomes well established, especially in cut-over areas. Most of the stand in the forests of West-Central Canada have resulted from some disturbance (usually fire). A great variety of cover types are present and each represents a stage of successional development. Those silvical characteristics of white spruce and trembling aspen that affect regeneration are examined in relation to habitat conditions obtaining in various environments... The early work done by the Department of Forestry to develop suitable methods for regeneration white spruce is summarized briefly... Lastly, the research program for the immediate future is outlined briefly in broad terms. This work will investigate seedling performance in specific habitats and the edaphic and climatic factors that limit performance in these habitats. Only through such study can present silvicultural methods be improved and new ones developed.