- Wall, R.E.
Maritimes Forest Research Centre
Studies on clear-cut forest areas of the Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia indicated that the former predominantly balsam fir stands had originated between 1900 and 1930 as a result of a gradual disturbance. Softwood regeneration on the clear-cuts created when these stands were harvested was mainly balsam fir which had originated from seed produced prior to 1974. Densities of balsam fir regeneration varied from 800 to 27 500 seedlings/ha with 15-90% of the 4-m2 quadrats stocked. Stocking levels exceeded 80% in only 15% of the cut-over blocks. Rapid growth of balsam fir seedlings began about three years after clear-cutting and increased to about 30 cm/year at age 15. During a 3-to 12- year period after clear-cutting, balsam fir was over-topped by raspberry, pin cherry, birch, and various grasses, herbs, and ferns but general suppression of fir growth by these species could not be demonstrated. Over most of the clear-cuts, densities of noncommercial species had no consistent relationship to growth of fir, suggesting that weeds were not a major limiting factor to growth. Most of the fir regeneration was found on undisturbed soil surfaces while pin cherry and raspberry seedlings tended to arise on soil surfaces disturbed by logging machinery.