New Forests

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 207–216 | Cite as

Quality of growth substrates of post-disturbed lowland black spruce sites for black spruce (Picea mariana) seedling growth

  • Martin LavoieEmail author
  • David Paré
  • Yves Bergeron


Black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) is the most important commercial tree species in the eastern boreal forest of Canada. Only limited work has been conducted to assess the quality of the various substrates that are found on post-disturbed sites prone to paludification having an effect on black spruce seedling growth. The objectives of this study were (1) to use a pot test to assess black spruce seedling performance on substrates found at the soil surface, in the rooting zone of undisturbed soil, at depths that become available to spruce roots after soil disturbance by wildfire or through management; and (2) to determine the nutritional quality of these substrates when constraints of poor drainage are artificially removed. Black spruce growth was greatest with fibric Pleurozium in the rooting zone, and with burned fibric Pleurozium and living Sphagnum at the soil surface. Good seedling growth on different substrates found in the rooting zone was associated with higher N and P foliar concentrations. Based on these results, we recommend targeted planting of black spruce seedlings in substrates of Pleurozium origin and the development of management techniques that promote Pleurozium schreberi.


Black spruce seedlings Careful logging Growth substrates Pot experiment Wildfire 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. We are thankful to Luc St-Antoine, Ricardo Morin and Alain Courcelles for technical assistance in the greenhouse and in the laboratory. We also thank Michèle Bernier-Cardou for statistical assistance and Isabelle Lamarre for editing. The study was funded by the NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Research Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, GREFi, Tembec, the Canadian Forest Service and the Lake Abitibi Model Forest (LAMF). The senior authors received a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Industrial Research Chair in Sustainable Forest ManagementUniversité du Québec en Abitibi-TémiscamingueRouyn-NorandaCanada
  2. 2.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry CentreStn. Sainte-Foy, QuebecCanada

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