Natural regeneration of jack pine following harvesting and site preparation in the Clay Belt of norwesthern Québec.
Martin Béland, Yves Bergeron, R Zarnovican.
A 36-ha experiment was carried out to assess the possibility of naturally regenerating jack pine stands following harvesting on clay soils of northwestern Quebec. Although differences between treatments were not statistically significant, there was a trend toward a positive effect of one treatment combining on-site delimbing and scarification with the Silva Wadell(TM) cone scarifier on jack pine seedling density (up to 10 000/ha) and distribution (50% of 1 m2 plots with at least one seedling, corresponding to 94% with 4 m2 plots), two years after harvest. However, scarified microsites contained fewer seedlings than expected and undisturbed humus contained more seedlings than expected. This result, contrary to what is generally reported in the literature may be explained either by the fairly humid conditions, favourable to germination and seedling establishment, occurring on clay sites or by the scarifier spreading the cone-bearing slash outward. Seedling abundance and distribution improved substantially from the first year to the second year following treatment. Although the irregular branch distribution over the cutover area appears to have limited regeneration success, combining on-site delimbing with soil scarification could lead to relatively good stocking of jack pine regeneration that could be enhanced by some fill-planting. This regeneration method could constitute an alternative to planting jack pine on clay. However, vegetation control to remove aspen competition might be necessary.