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New publication on the Smart restoration of native forests from Pinus radiata plantations

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 Foto: Chair of Silviculture

During the last four decades, extensive areas of native vegetation have been cleared to establish commercial tree plantations in south-central Chile, a region known as a world biodiversity hotspot. In response to the requirements of certification schemes such as FSC and PEFC, some of the main forestry companies in the country are now committed to restoring at least 30,000 ha of native ecosystems that have been replaced by plantations since 1994. With the purpose of providing guidelines for conversion to native forests, in 2017 researchers from the Chair of Silviculture, together with the Instituto Forestal de Chile and Forestal Arauco S.A., established a landscape-replicated experiment to test the influence of different harvesting treatments (clearfelling, strip cutting, control) on the early establishment of native tree species in Pinus radiata plantations. This is the first multi-site experiment on native forest restoration from conifer plantations in South America. After two growing seasons, analyses of growth performance, mortality and water stress of seedlings indicate that partial harvests (strip cuttings) are the most suitable method of artificial regeneration of native tree species with different shade tolerances. Further measurements are being conducted in the experiment to confirm this trend for natural regeneration. Partial harvesting may prove a major challenge for the forest industry in Chile, which mainly employs clearcuts to regenerate plantations. However, more successful establishment of native seedlings may compensate for higher short-term operational costs.
  

 

Original Publication:

Kremer K. N., Bannister J. R., Bauhus J. (2021): Restoring native forests from Pinus radiata plantations: Effects of different harvesting treatments on the performance of planted seedlings of temperate tree species in central Chile. Forest Ecology and Management, 479.

 

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