Restoring forests degraded by overabundant moose on the island of Newfoundland

Charron, Louis (2016) Restoring forests degraded by overabundant moose on the island of Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Global forests are being degraded at an alarming rate; hence ecological restoration becomes an integral component ensuring future forest health. Beneficial effects of restoration will arise from scientifically based practices that are efficient and effective. On the island of Newfoundland, moose (Alces alces) have become overabundant since their introduction in early 1900’s. Intensive selective browsing by moose on foundation species such as balsam fir (Abies balsamea) interacts with natural insect disturbance and limits advanced regeneration, creating moose meadows. In this thesis, I focused on where and how active restoration should be implemented in Terra Nova National Park (Newfoundland, Canada) balsam fir forests within the context of the natural disturbance regime under conditions of overbrowsing. Environmental surveys and experimental seedling planting were carried out along a disturbance gradient from closed canopy forest to large insect-disturbed stands. To develop cost-effective and science-based planting protocols, several ground treatments were tested to enhance seedlings success: (1) control, field planting, (2) removal of the aboveground vegetation and (3) ground scarification. Results indicate that (1) priority for restoration should be given to insectdisturbed areas > 5 ha rather than smaller gaps, and (2) that active restoration should be implemented following scientifically determined field planting protocols, as no substantial benefit was detected following ground treatment. The recommendations arising for this thesis allow for the development of efficient and effective protocols towards the reestablishment of multi-aged balsam fir forests in Newfoundland.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11910
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Balsam fir, Protected areas, Ecological restoration, Scarification, Insect disturbance, Ecological threshold
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: January 2016
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Forest restoration--Newfoundland and Labrador; Moose--Food--Newfoundland and Labrador; Balsam fir--Effect of browsing on--Newfoundland and Labrador; Balsam fir--Planting--Newfoundland and Labrador

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