Growth of tree species and hydrology in managed forested peatlands, Quebec

Authors: Jutras, Sylvain
Advisor: Bégin, Jean; Hokka, Hannu Kalevi
Abstract: The water budget of forested peatland sites is regulated by a complex combination of hydrological processes. Relatively stable in natural environments, this budget is exposed to major changes by forest management activities affecting the tree canopy. This Ph.D. thesis aimed to study the specific interrelations existing between growth and yield of tree species, above-ground competition, and hydrology of Quebec forested peatlands. The first chapter aimed to determine the pertinence of using drainage to transform unproductive black spruce stands into productive ones. Results showed that even if tree growth was significantly increased by drainage, only intensive drainage using narrow ditch spacing would enable stand productivity improvement. The four other chapters intended to evaluate the influence of the vegetation on the regulation of hydrological processes and, indirectly, tree growth. The water table has been monitored on a pre-mature forested peatland site to evaluate its behaviour following drainage and harvesting (Chapter 2). Comparable water table monitoring has been done in densely regenerated post-harvest and drained peatland sites to measure the watering-up after precommercial thinning (Chapter 3). Both studies demonstrated the valuable water table regulation capacities of the treed vegetation in forested peatlands. Since this vegetation has an evident influence on soil growing conditions, tree growth should be affected by the presence of neighbours. The role of biological drainage (Chapter 4) and the presence of competition (Chapter 5) on growth have been evaluated for drained sites. The water table regulation power of the vegetation stratum was found to be favourable to tree growth, but only in specific situations. Management practices that preserve notable amount of vegetation on forested peatland stands seem to be the most pertinent guideline that should be considered in these fragile ecosystems.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2006
Open Access Date: 12 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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