FRIP Abstracts

Role of Photoinhibition of Photosynthesis and Soil Water in the Initial Establishment of Clearcut-Planted White Spruce Seedlings
Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Lead Researcher:
Ken Greenway, PhD, and Rongzhou Man, PhD, Alberta Research Council, Vegreville, Alberta
Maintenance of photosynthetic systems by protecting seedlings from photoinhibition and photooxidation may increase survival and growth of planted seedlings. Photoinhibition is a short-term disruption of photosynthesis that occurs when light-harvesting pigments collect more solar energy than the photosynthetic system can productively utilize. It is common under natural conditions, especially for shade-tolerant plants that have relatively low light-saturated photosynthetic capacities. The study was designed to assess how moderation of the light environment through artificial shade would affect planted white spruce survival and early growth in harvested blocks.

The study area is located about 100 km northwest of Lac La Biche. The trial was located in two adjacent cutblocks, both of which were covered by 120 year old aspen prior to being harvested in 1998. The sites were straight-bladed in the spring following harvest, and planted with one-year old container-grown hot-lifted white spruce seedlings (415B) on July 10/11, 1998. Each cutblock had 60 experimental plots, each consisting of five seedlings. Within each cutblock there were three levels of shading: no-shade control, all season shade, and summer-shade only.

Light transmission through the shade frames was between 50-60% under either sunny or cloudy conditions. The light level under the shade treatments was high enough to saturate the photosynthetic systems of white spruce. The overall treatment effect of shading on soil temperature and soil moisture was not significant. Shading decreased daylight air temperatures and relative humidity and increased nighttime temperatures. Shading treatments had minimal impact on seedling quality as measured by chlorosis, terminal damage and mortality. Seedlings of different shading treatments did not show significant difference in height increment in either the first or second growing season. The no-shade seedlings had slightly more diameter growth than shaded seedlings. Shading did not significantly change measured root response variables, however it did significantly increase fluorescence yield and chlorophyll content, indicating reduced photoinhibition and photooxidation in white spruce seedlings. The study supports the practices of partial-cut silvicultural systems, or other silviculture systems in which white spruce are regenerated under the forest canopy.
Natural Reforestation on Seismic Lines and Wellsites in Comparison to Natural Burns or Logged Sites
Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Lead Researcher:
Terry Osko, OSKO Natural Resource Consulting, and Arin MacFarlane, University of Alberta, Edmonton
The study evaluates natural regeneration of wellsites and seismic lines compared to natural regeneration of cutblocks and burns, the capability of wellsites and seismic lines to produce a forest, and the causes of permanent alteration of site capability.

The study took place on Alberta-Pacific’s Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area. Sites selected were deciduous dominated stands that had been established in the 1950s or earlier. The three age classes sampled ranged from 0-10 years, 11-20 years and greater than 20 years. The data for reforestation of cutblocks and burns was obtained from the previous study in the Alberta-Pacific FMA.

The study found that stem densities increased over time on wellsites, and that densities on seismic lines did not differ substantially among age classes. There was a rapid decline in stem density over time in both fire and cutblocks. Stem densities on seismic lines and wellsites were considerably lower than burns and cutblocks in the youngest and middle age classes, but were fairly similar in the oldest age class. Seismic lines and wellsites were more diverse in tree species composition than burns or cutblocks in every age class. Only 4% of stems on wellsites and 2% of stems on seismic lines were taller than 5 m after 28 years. In burns and cutblocks, 80% of the stems were taller than 5 m after 28 years. On sites older than 28 years the majority of stems on wellsites and seismic lines had diameters (at 1.4m) of 0-2 cm compared to burns and cutblocks which had diameters between 4 and 6 cm. Reforestation on seismic lines and wellsites differed considerably from cutblocks and burns, most likely due to differences in site conditions. Such differences may include changes in soil physical and chemical properties, soil nutrients, site hydrology, availability of propagales for regeneration, competition with sown agronomic forages and herbivory. Specific causes of poor forest productivity on wellsites and seismic lines need to be determined in order to assess the permanence of productivity loss, mitigate present losses in productivity and prevent future losses.
Post-Disturbance Stand Dynamics
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Lead Researcher:
S. Hanus, Alberta Research Council, Vegreville, Alberta, S. Crites, Consultant, Sunset Beach, Alberta
Little is known regarding the fate of residual trees in harvested stands, limiting the understanding of the ecological and economic impacts of this practice. This long-term study monitors residual material within mixedwood boreal stands following three treatments: structured cutblocks, high intensity burn, and low intensity burn.

The study was conducted within the Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area in northeastern Alberta. The study monitored residual trees within the first six years following disturbance, and also established research sites for long-term monitoring.

Results indicate that falldown rates were low over the six-year period (17%). Overall, falldown rates were not significantly different between structured cutblocks (17%) and low intensity burn (19%); however, both were significantly higher than falldown in the high intensity burn (12%). Although live aspen and white spruce both had falldown rates of 14%, fallen aspen most often broke along the bole while white spruce were root thrown, resulting in differing ecological legacies. It was found that residuals in the smallest and largest diameter categories had the highest falldown rates, while solitary residuals had a higher rate of falldown than grouped residuals. The study provides relevant information regarding the short-term fate of residual material, and can help managers plan for effective residual material retention over the long-term.
Growth and Physiology of Early Establishment of Poplars in Northeastern Alberta
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Lead Researcher:
Annie DesRochers, PhD, University of Quebec, Barb R. Thomas, PhD, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
This report summarizes the results of various trials focused on the growth and physiology of planted poplars. The project began in November 2000 and was completed in May 2003.The project objectives were to:
1. Develop a methodology to maximize rooting success of dormant cuttings.
2. Develop a first year fertilizer application strategy for hybrid poplar plantations.
3. Optimize site preparation techniques (different types of mounding) to enhance the growth and establishment of poplars.
4. Investigate the relationships between fertilizer application, leaf nutrient status, water-use efficiency and gas exchange traits.There were 13 trials established to gather the data necessary to achieve the project objectives. Trial results demonstrated improved nursery production by increasing rooting success of dormant cuttings by 35 percent. As well, optimal unrooted cutting size for direct plant was determined to be 25-30cm in length, and the use of balsam poplar cuttings to reclaim roads proved viable.

The fertilization combinations tested did not significantly improve growth and in some cases reduced growth. Greenhouse testing showed that growth can be increased by selecting ammonium-N or nitrate-N depending on soil pH.

Mounding was found to extend the growing season by 2-3 weeks, however it also decreased surface soil moisture and decreased survival by 10 percent. The increased mortality can be reduced by avoiding mounding sites susceptible to drought conditions. Mounding with the incorporation of mill bio-solids was found to significantly increase soil moisture and overall growth of plantations.

The addition of nitrogen increased drought stress resulting in growth reduction. In the field trials, the no-fertilizer treatment significantly increased growth. It was not possible to establish a relationship between gas exchange traits and field performance. In the greenhouse, nitrogen fertilization increased net assimilation, nitrogen content and growth.
Northern Watershed Project
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Lead Researcher:
Gary Scrimgeour PhD, Alberta Research Council, Vegreville, Alberta
The Northern Watershed Project was a collaborative research project involving nine representatives from industry, conservation groups and government. The project had three primary objectives: develop and test the impact of different buffer width criteria and subsequent guidelines on the Notikewin watershed, develop predictive models relating fish community structure with watershed attributes in the Notikewin basin, and determine the effects of watershed disturbances on fish community structure in the Kakwa and Simonette basins.The project took place over the period from spring 1999 to March 2003. The results are presented in the following four reports:
1. Riparian Forest Management: Paradigms for Ecological Management and Practices in Alberta
2. Stream Fish Management: Defining Relationships between Landscape Characteristics and Fish Communities in the Notikewin River Basin, Alberta
3. Cumulative Effects: Cumulative Effects of Watershed Disturbance on Stream Fish Communities in the Kakwa and Simonette River Basins, Alberta
4. Riparian Forest Management: Simulation of Four Riparian Guidelines on Seral Stage and Canopy Type Distributions on Forests in Northwestern Alberta
Ecology, Hydrology and Disturbance of Western Boreal Wetlands (HEAD)
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Lead Researcher:
K.J. Devito, University of Alberta, Edmonton
The ecological and hydrological factors controlling the character and productivity of wetland complexes in the Western Boreal Forest (WBF) of north central Alberta are poorly understood. This project increased the basic understanding of these processes to predict the impact of environmental changes on wetlands, and to set targets for protection and post-development restoration. The project had three objectives: determine the abundance and distribution of wetlands that provide suitable habitat for water birds in the WBF in north central Alberta; determine the natural variation in dominant ecological and hydrological process controlling wetland structure and function by comparing these processes across a range of geologic settings and over several years; and derive and automate indices of these dominant process for inclusion in a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based Decision Support System (DSS) that will be used to predict the productivity and response of individual ponds and wetland complexes to disturbances within the landscape.

Research was conducted at the HEAD research site located in the WBF north of Utikuma Lake, approximately 500km north of Edmonton, Alberta.

Results are presented as refereed journal articles, conference presentations, technical reports, and non-refereed articles and reports.
FMF Grizzly Bear Research
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Lead Researcher:
G. Stenhouse, R. Munro, K. Graham, Foothills Model Forest, Hinton, Alberta
In 1999, the Foothills Model Forest (FMF) initiated an international, co-operative, multidisciplinary grizzly bear research program in the Yellowhead Ecosystem of west-central Alberta. The long-term objective of the six-year program was to provide land and resource managers with the knowledge and planning tools to ensure the continuing conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta. The research program focused on management issues through assessment of grizzly bear populations, bear response to human activities, and habitat conditions to provide land managers with tools to integrate grizzly bear “needs” into the land management decision-making framework. The development of tools and techniques is an important outcome of the program as it allows managers to implement appropriate actions designed to conserve grizzly bears at a landscape level. Conservation at a landscape level is a critical component to the successful management of grizzly bear populations throughout Alberta and North America.

A full listing of research and technical papers is available on the FMF website at
Dual Path Mounder Project - Reforestation Research Component
Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
T. Macyk, R. Faught, and T. Pojasok, Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, Alberta
This project evaluated the characteristics of mounds produced by the Dual Path Mounder and related these characteristics to tree performance and reforestation success.

Plot data was collected from 1995 to 1999 from fourteen established plots in five cutblocks. The plot data included mound characteristics, soil nutrient, soil pH, soil temperature, soil moisture, seedling position on the mound and in relation to the mound, competition, seedling survival and growth, and precipitation.

The results of this study indicate that mounding is an effective operational forest management practice for enhancing white spruce growth and survival. Mounding is likely to be most useful in more poorly drained sites where the treatment is able to increase soil temperatures. However, mounding upland sites may also provide benefits in terms of seedling establishment and performance. Seedlings planted on mineral mounds in control areas appeared to have better root growth, which correlates to better survival and overall growth. Mounds were found to provide approximately two growing seasons of competition control from Calamagrostis canadensis (marsh reedgrass).
Mill By-Product Study: A Study to Evaluate Mill By-products as Soil Amendments
Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Brad Engel, RPF, Forestry Consultant
This study evaluated the opportunity to utilize sawmill by-products as soil amendments.

The study was carried out on agricultural land in the Hines Creek and Grande Prairie areas of Alberta. Trials began in 1997 and were completed in March 2001. At the Grande Prairie site, nine treatments were tested: shavings, finer hog fuel, coarse hog fuel, shavings and manure, finer hog fuel and manure, coarse hog fuel and manure, composted shavings and manure, composted finer hog fuel and manure, and composted coarse hog fuel and manure. At the Hines Creek site seven treatments were tested: woodchips, sawdust, ash, wood chips and manure, sawdust and manure, composted wood chips and manure, and composted sawdust with manure. Sites were seeded to barley and underseeded to smooth bromegrass. The composted mill by-product and manure sites at the Grande Prairie trial were seeded to barley and underseeded to bromegrass and alfalfa. The forage yield for each site was then measured.

The trial resulted in a list of recommendations for the application of mill by-products to agricultural land. Wood chips, sawdust, wood ash and shavings may be applied at rates up to 8 tons per acre with no adverse effect to subsequent barley production. Finer hog fuel and coarse hog fuel may be applied at rates up to 4 tons per acre with no adverse effects to subsequent barley yields. All mill wood by-products (ie. chips, sawdust, shavings, hog fuels) when mixed with manure (approximately 50:50) and composted or not composted may be applied at rates of up to 8 tons per acre with no adverse effect to subsequent barley production. The addition of mill by-product materials to agricultural land may reduce forage yields the year after establishment (if moisture is limiting), but by the second forage year this effect will disappear regardless of treatment level. Mixing mill by-products with manure will result in higher subsequent yields of forage compared to using raw mill by-products. Additions of ash up to 8 tons per acre was also found to increase forage yields for a number of years following application.
Open and Sectoral Models of Public Participation: Does model type make a difference in land use planning?
Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Leslie J. Hawkins, Masters student, University of Northern British Columbia
This study evaluated the use of open and sectoral models in Land and Resource Management Planning (LRMP) processes in north-central British Columbia. The study tested the hypothesis that the models do not differ in their ability to address key social and environmental criteria in land use planning.

The open model allowed participation of any citizen, whereas members of the sectoral model are chosen based on the interest they represent. A mail survey, interviews and literature review were used to evaluate both models and their ability to capture social and environmental objectives of the LRMP.

The study found that the open model may be more effective in achieving social objectives of the LRMP process. Conversely, lack of differences with regard to environmental criteria supported the study hypothesis. The final report provides valuable recommendations for industry to aid in the solicitation of input in resource planning processes.