Assessment of winter harvesting influence on soil properties and aspen regeneration in Duck Mountain provincial park, SK
Van Rees, K.C.J.
Disturbance is a natural and essential component of a healthy and sustainable aspen forest; however, fire suppression has altered the natural cycle of death and regrowth. As a result, many of Saskatchewan’s aspen forest are in a dying state with insufficient regeneration to maintain the forest system. Mechanical harvesting mimics the natural disturbance of fire and stimulates the regeneration of overgrown forests, promoting a turnover and a healthy forest system. Unfortunately, mechanical harvesting severely affects the underlying soil and hinder the success of regeneration and the stability of the forest itself. Utilizing GPS and GIS technology to map the distribution and intensity of machine traffic throughout the harvested area allows assessment of the effects our current harvesting method has on the developing forest. Assessments are commonly done using small monitoring plots, which are then used to infer success of regeneration for much larger areas; consequently, important information about the regeneration may be overlooked or exaggerated. To capture larger scale impact, drone remote sensing is being developed as an additional tool to obtain information regarding the level of regeneration. This research will contribute to improving our regeneration assessment capability and ensure harvesting of aspen forests is done in a sustainable manor.
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