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Ecology of and control strategies for Calamagrostis canadensis in boreal forest sites

Ecology of and control strategies for Calamagrostis canadensis in boreal forest sites

Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23(10): 2070-2077

Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.) Beauv. is a widely distributed rhizomatous grass that can seriously inhibit growth of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) seedlings in the boreal forests of North America. We review the dynamics of this grass during four successional stages: the colonization of disturbed sites; dominance of the site by the grass a few years after disturbance; gradual loss of dominance with overstory development; and maintenance of the grass at low levels in the understory of the mature forest. We also describe C. canadensis in relation to recruitment from clonal growth and seed, environmental conditions for growth, the effects of grass liner buildup on conifer seedling microclimate, and overall competitive abilities. Control strategies for C. canadensis are as follows. If the grass is found in nearly every square metre in the understory prior to logging, there will be rapid spread when the stand is clear-cut unless clones are killed using herbicides or a deep burn. Large spruce seedlings, planted on large soil scalps or mounds, coupled with release by way of herbicides or sheep grazing, may be necessary for plantation establishment under conditions of encroachment by C. canadensis. Alternatively, the shade provided by a partial canopy may inhibit the grass sufficiently to allow spruce seedlings to establish. If grass is not abundant in the understory, we recommend (i) minimizing forest floor disturbance to reduce sites for grass seedling colonization or (ii) a slash bum with the hope of encouraging colonization by herbaceous species that have less impact on conifer seedlings.

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Accession: 002351452

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1139/x93-258

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