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New Forests

, Volume 43, Issue 5–6, pp 825–848 | Cite as

Mechanical site preparation for forest restoration

  • Magnus Löf
  • Daniel C. Dey
  • Rafael M. Navarro
  • Douglass F. Jacobs
Article

Abstract

Forest restoration projects have become increasingly common around the world and planting trees is almost always a key component. Low seedling survival and growth may result in restoration failures and various mechanical site preparation techniques for treatment of soils and vegetation are important tools used to help counteract this. In this article, we synthesize the current state-of-knowledge concerning mechanical site preparation for improved tree establishment when carried out in different forest restoration situations, point out critical research gaps and provide some recommendations for future directions. Mechanical site preparation often results in improved seedling survival and growth. However, if not intensive methods with much soil disturbance are used, it is a rather ineffective tool for controlling competing vegetation. Methods such as scarification, mounding and subsoiling also lead to multiple interactions among soil physical and chemical properties that affect plant survival and growth, and it may be difficult to determine the actual cause–effect relationship of any positive seedling responses. Most research to date on mechanical site preparation and plantation performance has been conducted using a few conifer tree species. Seedling responses differ among tree species and alternative species are often used during restoration compared to production forestry indicating a need for additional research for improved understanding. Several management objectives such as soil protection and increased biodiversity are many times relevant during forest restoration, and mechanical site preparation methods should be implemented carefully because they can have large impacts on the environment.

Keywords

Afforestation Ecosystem management Rehabilitation Regeneration Sustainability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was supported by scholarships from Stina Werners fund and from The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education offered to M. Löf during his visit at Purdue University, USA in the autumn of 2011. Support for R Navarro was received from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, program CGL2008-04503-CO3-02.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magnus Löf
    • 1
  • Daniel C. Dey
    • 2
  • Rafael M. Navarro
    • 3
  • Douglass F. Jacobs
    • 4
  1. 1.Southern Swedish Forest Research CenterSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden
  2. 2.U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research StationColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.School of Agricultural and Forestry EngineeringUniversity of CordobaCordobaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration CenterPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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