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Mechanical site preparation for forest restoration

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Lof, Magnus; Dey, Daniel C.; Navarro, Rafael M.; Jacobs, Douglass F.

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New Forests. 43: 825-848.


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.


Lof, Magnus; Dey, Daniel C.; Navarro, Rafael M.; Jacobs, Douglass F. 2012. Mechanical site preparation for forest restoration. New Forests. 43: 825-848.

Last updated on: September 20, 2012