Spruce budworm-inspired management of balsam fir forests

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University of New Brunswick


Forest management strategies often use natural disturbance regimes, such as those associated with spruce budworm (Choristoneurafumiferana (Clem.); SBW) to design harvest practices that aim to emulate natural stand conditions. This thesis used 30 years of data, from SBW-defoliated balsam fir dominated stands in the Cape Breton Highlands, and 8 years of data, from a SBW-inspired harvest in northern New Brunswick, to compare stand and regeneration characteristics following each disturbance and to examine long-term stand development and its relationship to regeneration characteristics. Results indicated that standing residual trees are important features of post-SBW outbreak stands as structural stand components and as seed sources. Significant blowdown of residual trees in the SBW-inspired harvest compared to the natural outbreak (43% versus 8% of post-disturbance stand density, respectively) could potentially be minimized by incorporating temporal characteristics in future harvest treatments that slow stand opening and allow residual tress to adapt to new conditions.