|Kreyling, J; Schmiedinger, A; Macdonald, E; Beierkuhnlein, C: Potentials of Natural Tree Regeneration after Clearcutting in Subalpine Forests , Western Journal of Applied Forestry, 23(1), 46-52 (2008)|
Regeneration of interior mountain forests still is not adequately understood, although these forests are subject to intensified use over the last decades. We examined factors influencing the success of natural tree regeneration following harvesting in the Engelmann Spruce Subalpine Fir zone (ESSF) of the Monashee Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Distance from the forest edge was an important factor for regeneration; at distances exceeding 70m from the forest edge only 50% of plots showed sufficient natural regeneration to meet stocking targets compared to 90% closer to forest edges. Seedling density and growth were superior in the more protected southern portions of clearcuts. Seedling growth was less in plots containing high cover of downed woody debris. There was no relationship between understory plant diversity or composition and tree seedling regeneration. However, cover of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) had a significant negative relationship with density, but not growth, of tree seedlings, particularly for lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia). Cover of fireweed declined substantially within the first decade after clear-cutting. We conclude that natural regeneration of trees has potential to help achieve stocking targets and also to maintain natural diversity of tree species if spatial constraints, especially thresholds in clearcut size, are considered.