Overstory treatment and planting season affect survival of replacement tree species in emerald ash borer threatened Fraxinus nigra forests in Minnesota, USA
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Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 45(12): 1728-1738.
Fraxinus nigra Marsh. (black ash) wetland forests in northern Minnesota, USA, are threatened by the invasive insect, emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (EAB)). A potential management option is promoting regeneration of tree species that are not EAB hosts to maintain ecosystem functions. Using an operational-scale field experiment, we examined the survival of 12 alternative tree species in response to different canopy treatments. We planted the seedlings in 1.6 ha plots assigned to four replicated canopy treatments: untreated control, group selection (0.04 ha gaps, 20% of stand), black ash girdling to emulate EAB-induced mortality, and clearcut. Fall and spring plantings were used to compare the effects of spring ponding. Control (32.9%), group selection (34.5%), and girdling (33.3%) treatments had comparable overall seedling survival. Survival in the clear-cut treatments was significantly lower (22%). Species selection, overstory treatment, and season of planting together resulted in survival rates ranging from 0.08% to 94.1%. Conifer species had low overall rates of survival (10.7%), whereas some species with native ranges not presently overlapping with northern F. nigra forests, e.g., Quercus bicolor Willd. (75.5%), had high survival rates. If growth is light-limited, group selection may be effective in promoting recruitment and supporting a larger variety of species.
KeywordsFraxinus nigra; emerald ash borer; alternative tree species; artificial regeneration; canopy treatments
Looney, Christopher E.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Palik, Brian J.; Slesak, Robert A. 2015. Overstory treatment and planting season affect survival of replacement tree species in emerald ash borer threatened Fraxinus nigra forests in Minnesota, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 45(12): 1728-1738. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2015-0129.