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Influence of humus composition on the development of black spruce seedlings

In boreal forests in Canada, broadleaf stands are characterized by generally well-drained soils and a humus-rich layer. In contrast, spruce-moss stands are often characterized by more poorly drained soils and acidic humus layers. However, the presence of these two forest types in various degrees of the mixture in stands can be beneficial to spruce seedling's productivity.

It was hypothesized that leaf litter and humus from pure spruces-moss stands, pure broadleaf stands, and mixed stands might influence Black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) seedling growth and development differently. A greenhouse experiment was carried out to evaluate the effect of different leaf litter and different humus on spruce seedlings. Our results suggest better development for seedlings grown in humus from mixed stands and pure broadleaf stands compared to humus from pure B. spruce or standard forest nursery substrate.

Furthermore, leaf litter from broadleaf trees species, such as species Speckle alder (Alnus rugosa (Du Roi) R.T. Clausen), T. aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx), Willows (Salix spp.) and Paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), has shown distinct results in the growth and development of B. spruce seedlings in a greenhouse. Furthermore, the promotion of mixed stands can increase B. spruce productivity by improving the physicochemical composition of the forest floor.

Read the complete research at

Ouimet, Rock & Noronha, MaĆ­sa & Barrette, Martin & Leduc, Alain & Bergeron, Yves. (2022). Influence of Leaf Litter and Humus Composition on the Development of Black Spruce Seedlings: A Greenhouse Experimentation. Forests. 13. 22. 10.3390/f13111832. 

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