UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Natural regeneration on clearcuts at the lower limit of the mountain hemlock zone Klinka, Karel


The Mountain Hemlock (MH) zone includes all subalpine forests along British Columbia’s coast. It occurs at elevations where most precipitation falls as snow and the growing season is less than 4 months long. The zone includes the continuous forest of the forested subzones and the tree islands of the parkland subzones (Figure 1). Old-growth stands are populated by mountain hemlock, Pacific silver fir, and Alaska yellow-cedar, and are among the least-disturbed ecosystems in the world. Canopy trees grow slowly and are commonly older than 600 years, while some Alaska yellow-cedars may be up to 2000 years old. Early regeneration failures followed slashburning and the planting of unsuitable species. Currently, the most successful and feasible option for reforesting cutovers is natural regeneration with a mix of the three main tree species, but uncertainties remain about the temporal and spatial pattern of regeneration, changes in species composition, and the time required for stand establishment after cutting. Our study addressed these concerns by examining regeneration patterns on 6 sites that were clearcut 11-12 years prior to sampling and left to regenerate naturally. The sites were located at the lower limits of the zone in the Tetrahedron Range, near Sechelt, at elevations from 1060-1100m.

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