New Forests

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 613–628 | Cite as

Comparative mast seed production in unmanaged and shelterwood white pine (Pinus strobus L.) stands in central Ontario

  • William C. Parker
  • Thomas L. Noland
  • Andrée E. Morneault


The effect of the seed cut of the uniform shelterwood silvicultural system on white pine seed production, seed characteristics, and seed viability during 2 mast seeding events was examined in operationally harvested second growth, white pine-dominated forest stands in central Ontario. Seed traps placed along transects in unmanaged and shelterwood stands in each of 3 blocks were used to monitor seed production in 2000 and 2006 (4 and 10 years after harvesting). During these 2 mast seed years between 386,000 and 2,730,600 seed ha−1 were produced among study stands. Total seed production expressed on a per hectare and unit pine basal area basis did not differ by harvest treatment or among blocks in either year. Variability in seed production among stands was primarily due to differences in stand structure, with seed production positively related to white pine basal area. Seed characteristics were largely similar between harvested and unmanaged stands and between seed years. Seed viability was relatively high in both years, with seed from shelterwoods germinating slightly slower than those from unmanaged stands. Seed quality, as estimated by laboratory germination performance, was higher in 2006 than 2000, likely due to improved seed development and maturation in the warmer, wetter growing season of 2006. Our results suggest that the seed cut of the uniform shelterwood system applied to second growth white pine stands is unlikely to adversely affect white pine seed production, seed quality, or potential for natural regeneration during mast seeding events.


Germination Mast seeding Seed production Seed quality Uniform shelterwood 



We acknowledge the following individuals for their contributions to this study. Dianne Othmer, Megan Smith and Brian Brown (OMNR) provided valuable field and lab assistance. John McLeod, Hillary Black (OMNR’s Summer Experience Program), and Jane Nicholson (Natural Resources Canada Science and Technology Internship Program) performed laboratory germination tests. The Canadian Forestry Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre provided use of the X-ray machine. Dr. Mahadev Sharma (OMNR) provided advice on statistical analyses and Lisa Buse (OMNR) provided editorial assistance. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their many valuable suggestions on an earlier version of this report.


  1. Aussenac G (2000) Interactions between forest stands and microclimate: ecophysiological aspects and consequences for silviculture. Ann For Sci 57:287–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes BV (1969) Effects of thinning and fertilizing on production of western white pine seed. USDA For Serv, Ogden, UT. Res Pap INT-58Google Scholar
  3. Bewley JD (1997) Seed germination and dormancy. Plant Cell 9:1055–1066PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bilan MV (1960) Stimulation of cone and seed production in pole-size loblolly pine. For Sci 6:207–220Google Scholar
  5. Boucher J-F, Bernier PY, Margolis HA, Munson AD (2007) Growth and physiological response of eastern white pine seedlings to partial cutting and site preparation. For Ecol Manage 240:151–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burgess D, Wetzel S (2000) Nutrient availability and regeneration response after partial cutting and site preparation in eastern white pine. For Ecol Manage 138:249–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burgess D, Wetzel S (2002) Recruitment and early growth of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) regeneration after partial cutting and site preparation. Forestry 75:419–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cornett MW, Puettmann KJ, Reich PB (1998) Canopy type, forest floor, predation, and competition influence conifer seedling emergence and early survival in two Minnesota conifer–deciduous forests. Can J For Res 28:196–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Czabator FJ (1962) Germination value: an index combining speed and completeness of pine seed germination. For Sci 8:386–396Google Scholar
  10. Dovčiak M, Reich PB, Frelich LE (2003) Seed rain, safe sites, competing vegetation, and soil resources spatially structure white pine regeneration and recruitment. Can J For Res 33:1892–1904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edwards DGW (1980) Maturity and quality of tree seeds—a state-of-the-art review. Seed Sci Technol 8:625–657Google Scholar
  12. Farmer RE Jr (1997) Seed ecophysiology of temperate and boreal zone forest trees. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, FL, StGoogle Scholar
  13. Graber RE (1970) Natural seed fall in white pine (Pinus strobus L.) stands of varying density. USDA For Serv, Upper Darby, PA. For Res Note NE-119Google Scholar
  14. Greene DF, Johnson EA (1994) Estimating the mean annual seed production of trees. Ecology 75:642–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hannah PR (1988) The shelterwood method in northeastern forest types: a literature review. North J Appl For 5:70–77Google Scholar
  16. Harju AM, Karrkainen K, Ruotsalainen S (1996) Phenotypic and genetic variation in the seed maturity of Scots pine. Silv Genet 45:205–211Google Scholar
  17. Heckman ST, Pecore MJ, Sloan KR (1986) Natural white pine regeneration: site requirements. In: Funk DT (ed) Eastern white pine: today and tomorrow, USDA For Serv, Washington, DC, Gen Tech Rep WO-51, pp 57–61Google Scholar
  18. Herr DG, Duchesne LC, Reader RJ (1999) Effects of soil organic matter, moisture, shading and ash on white pine (Pinus strobus L.) seedling emergence. New For 18:219–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Herrera CM, Jordano P, Guitián J, Traveset A (1998) Annual variability in seed production by woody plants and the masting concept: reassessment of principles and relationships to pollination and dispersal. Am Nat 152:576–594PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hoff RJ (1987) Dormancy in Pinus monticola seed related to stratification time, seed coat, and genetics. Can J For Res 17:294–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Karlsson C (2000) Seed production of Pinus sylvestris after release cutting. Can J For Res 30:982–989Google Scholar
  22. Lee KJ (1979) Factors affecting cone initiation in pines: a review. Res Rep Inst For Genet 15:45–83Google Scholar
  23. Matthews JD (1963) Factors affecting the production of seed by forest trees. For Abs 24(1):1–13Google Scholar
  24. Morneault AE, Naylor BJ, Schaeffer LS, Othmer DC (2004) The effect of shelterwood harvesting and site preparation in eastern red-backed salamanders in white pine stands. For Ecol Manage 199:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Myketa D, McLaughlan MS (1996) The shelterwood silvicultural system as related to vegetation management. Ont Min Nat Resour, Northwest Sci Technol TN-35Google Scholar
  26. Noland TL, Parker WC, Morneault AE (2006) Natural variation in seed characteristics of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.). New For 32:87–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) (1998) A silvicultural guide for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence conifer forest in Ontario. Ont Min Nat Resour, Toronto, ONGoogle Scholar
  28. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) (2004) Ontario tree marking guide. Version 1.1. Ont Min Nat Resour, Toronto, ONGoogle Scholar
  29. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) (2011) Ecological land classification field manual—operational draft, April 20th, 2009. Ecological land classification working group, Ontario. Unpublished manualGoogle Scholar
  30. Owens JN, Blake MD (1985) Forest tree seed production. A review of literature and recommendations for future research. Environ Can, Can For Serv, Petawawa, ON, Inf Rep PIX-53Google Scholar
  31. Owens JN, Simpson SJ, Molder M (1982) Sexual reproduction of Pinus contorta. II. Postdomancy ovule, embryo, and seed development. Can J Bot 60:2071–2083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Parker WC, Noland TL, Morneault AE (2006) Influence of seed mass on germination, emergence and early growth of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) seedlings. New For 32:33–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Parker WC, Noland TL, Brown B (2010) Effects of structural retention harvesting on seed production and seed characteristics of old-growth eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) stands in northern Ontario. For Chron 86:614–622Google Scholar
  34. Peters G, Sala A (2008) Reproductive output of ponderosa pine in response to thinning and prescribed burning in western Montana. Can J For Res 38:844–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Phares RE, Rogers NF (1962) Improving shortleaf pine seed production in Missouri. J For 60:322–324Google Scholar
  36. Pitt DG, Morneault A, Parker WC, Lanteigne L, Hoepting MR, Stinson A (2011) The effects of herbaceous and woody competition on planted and natural white pine regeneration in a shelterwood. For Chron 87:653–668Google Scholar
  37. Powers MD, Pregitzer KS, Palik BJ (2008) Physiological performance of three pine species provides evidence for gap partitioning. For Ecol Manage 256:2127–2135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rajora OP, Mosseler A, Major JE (2002) Mating system and reproductive fitness traits of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) in large, central versus small, isolated, marginal populations. Can J Bot 80:1173–1184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Raymond P, Munson AD, Ruel J-C, Nolet P (2003) Group and single-tree selection cutting in mixed tolerant hardwood-white pine stands: early establishment dynamics of white pine and associated species. For Chron 79:1093–1106Google Scholar
  40. Ribbens E, Silander JA, Pacala SW (1994) Seedling recruitment in forests: calibrating models to predict patterns of tree seedling dispersion. Ecology 75:1784–1806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Richardson SJ, Allen RB, Whitehead D, Carswell FE, Ruscoe WA, Platt KH (2005) Climate and net carbon availability determine temporal patterns of seed production by Nothofagus. Ecology 86:972–981CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Selås V, Piovesan G, Adams JM, Bernabei M (2002) Climatic factors controlling reproduction and growth of Norway spruce in southern Norway. Can J For Res 32:217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Simak M (1980) X-radiography in research and testing of forest tree seeds. No. 3. Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Department of Silviculture, Umea, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  44. Smaill SJ, Clinton PW, Allen RB, Davis MR (2011) Climate cues and resources interact to determine seed production by masting species. J Ecol 99:870–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith DM (1951) The influence of seedbed conditions on the regeneration of eastern white pine. The Conn Agric Exp Sta, New Haven, CT. Bull No 545Google Scholar
  46. Thomas PA, Wein RW (1985) The influence of shelter and the hypothetical effect of fire severity on the postfire establishment of conifers from seed. Can J For Res 15:148–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wendel GW, Smith HC (1990) Pinus strobus L: Eastern white pine. In: Burns RM, Honkala BH (eds) Silvics of North America, vol 1., Conifers, USDA Agric Handbk No 654Washington, DC, pp 476–488Google Scholar
  48. Williams CG (2009) Conifer reproductive biology. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yocum HA (1971) Releasing shortleaf pines increases cone and seed production. USDA For Serv, New Orleans, LA. Res Note SO-125Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Parker
    • 1
  • Thomas L. Noland
    • 1
  • Andrée E. Morneault
    • 2
  1. 1.Ontario Forest Research InstituteOntario Ministry of Natural ResourcesSault Ste. MarieCanada
  2. 2.Forest Research and Development SectionOntario Ministry of Natural ResourcesNorth BayCanada

Personalised recommendations