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Effects of logging in the southern boreal peatlands of Manitoba, Canada

Faculty Advisor




peatlands, diversity

Abstract (summary)

To evaluate changes in surface water chemistry, peat, and the plant community in logged peatlands, we compared plots in 1–4 year old (class I) and 9–12 year old (class II) clearcuts with plots in wooded controls. Indicator species were significantly different between wooded and clear-cut plots but not between clear-cut plot age classes. Surface waters in class I clearcuts had significantly higher temperature and nutrients compared with controls, and this was attributed to warming of the soil, which resulted in faster decomposition and greater nutrient availability. Hummocks, important peatland plant microhabitats, were reduced in height in all clearcuts because of compaction and abrasion. These abiotic changes caused a shift in the plant community. Total plant diversity was approximately 30% higher on clearcuts and consisted primarily of herbs, particularly grasses. However, bryophyte and lichen diversity and cover was greatest in wooded controls. Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP regeneration was not compromised by clear-cutting and was greater in class II clearcuts. Greater diversity and cover of Salix species in class II clearcuts suggests stable shrub community formation, which may be persistent and may slow succession. The use of appropriate equipment to minimize site disturbances while the ground is frozen may reduce long-term shifts in the plant community.

Publication Information

Locky, D.A. & Bayley, S.E. (2007). Effects of logging in the southern boreal peatlands of Manitoba, Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 37(3), 649-661. doi:10.1139/X06-249


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