Successful regeneration of coastal montane sites harvested using alternative silvicultural systems may depend on the degree to which tree species can acclimate morphologically and physiologically to a variety of light environments. In a study to determine shade acclimation in montane conifers, one-year-old amabilis fir (Abies amabilis (Dougl.) Forbes) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) seedlings were grown in a nursery under four shade treatments: full sunlight (0% shade), 60% and 30% shade using shade cloth, and 30% shade using lath slats. Shading influenced shoot development, foliar physiology and morphological characteristics of both amabilis fir and western hemlock but in general, the effects were small. Shade levels of 60% were required to induce significant acclimation, and western hemlock appeared to respond more positively than amabilis fir and therefore was considered more shade tolerant than amabilis fir. Light quality had little influence on growth and development, as indicated by a lack of significant differences in physiology or morphology between seedlings grown under shade cloth or lath slats. There were indications that adequate nutrition levels may mitigate the effects of shade on seedling morphology and physiology.
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Mitchell, A.K., Arnott, J.T. Effects of shade on the morphology and physiology of amabilis fir and western hemlock seedlings. New Forest 10, 79–98 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00034177