Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp 2933–2948 | Cite as

Do tree-level monocultures develop following Canadian boreal silviculture? Tree-level diversity tested using a new method

  • Jason E. E. Dampier
  • Nancy Luckai
  • F. Wayne Bell
  • William D. Towill
Original Paper


Concern about forestry practices creating tree-level monoculture plantations exists. Our study investigates tree diversity responses for six early seral boreal forest plantations in Ontario, Canada, representing three conifer species; black spruce (Picea mariana), white spruce (P. glauca), and jack pine (Pinus banksiana), 14 release treatments, and 94 experimental units. Dominance-diversity curves and Simpson’s indices of diversity and evenness indicate tree alpha diversity. We propose a new method for assessing diversity, using percentage of theoretical species maximum (%TSM) which is determined by comparing post-disturbance richness (S) with a theoretical species maximum (TSM). Our results support the hypothesis that alternative vegetation release treatments generally do not reduce tree species diversity levels (%TSM) relative to untreated plots. The only %TSM (P ≤ 0.05) comparison that produced less diversity than in control plots was repeated annual treatments of Vision herbicide at one of the black spruce study sites. Our results generally support the hypothesis that tree monocultures do not develop after vegetation release. Only one out of 94 experimental units developed into a tree layer monoculture (Simpson’s reciprocal diversity index = 1). Again this was one of the repeated annual treatments of Vision herbicide at one of the black spruce study sites—a treatment which is atypical of Canadian forest management.


Biodiversity Boreal forestry Conservation Herbicide alternatives Plantation Rank abundance plots Release treatment Vegetation management 



The collection of data used in this study was sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Forestry Research Partnership (CEC-FRP), Living Legacy Trust (LLT), Upper Lakes Environmental Research Network (ULERN), and Spray Efficacy Research Group (SERG) members: specifically the Manitoba Department of Natural Resources and Forest Protection Limited (FPL). Financial support for data analysis was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Monsanto Canada, Inc., and Forestry Futures Trust Enhanced Forest Productivity Science Program (FFT-EFPS). The projects used in this study were established under OMNR’s Vegetation Management Alternatives Program (VMAP). The authors greatly appreciate the efforts of John Winters and Amy Bolduc and the many folks involved in the field assessments. The authors appreciate technical advise provided by R. Maki, Monsanto Canada, Inc. Editorial and technical advice on an earlier draft was provided by P. Comeau (University of Alberta), D. Pitt (NRCan), J. Winters, A. Morneault, and L. Buse (OMNR) and two anonymous reviewers. The lead author also thanks Mark Lesser, University of Wyoming, for stimulating conversations related to this study and for assistance in producing Fig. 1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason E. E. Dampier
    • 1
  • Nancy Luckai
    • 1
  • F. Wayne Bell
    • 2
  • William D. Towill
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Forestry and the Forest EnvironmentLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  2. 2.Ontario Forest Research InstituteOntario Ministry of Natural ResourcesSault Ste MarieCanada
  3. 3.Northwest Science and TechnologyOntario Ministry of Natural ResourcesThunder BayCanada

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