UBC Undergraduate Research

The effects of Dennstaedtia punctilobula on tree seedling regeneration post forest harvesting English, Kate

Abstract

Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hayscented fern) is a native invasive fern found in eastern North America. It hinders the growth of many tree species, significantly Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple). This fern regenerates quickly on disturbed sites that range in light levels. This makes deforested sites an ideal growing habitat. D. punctilobula is able to hinder the growth of tree seedlings by intercepting sunlight with their thick frond canopy. The thick fronds also make an ideal living habitat for insects and rodents which are known to feed on germinating tree seedlings. As well, its thick root system is proven to possess allelopathic attributes which result in a physical and chemical barrier to germinating tree seedlings. Nutrients found in the mineral soil are necessary for tree seedlings to grow; however, growth is impeded by the fern’s roots. Although D. punctilobula is a difficult species to remove from a site once established, its further growth and expansion can be hindered through different tree harvesting designs and alternative silvicultural practices of scalping, mowing and herbicide treatments.

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