Presenting Sept. 30 to members of the state Reforestation Science and Technical Committee (an advisory committee for the Board of Forestry), Andrew Allaby and Miho Morimoto shared their work on forest regeneration. Both are involved in Professor Glenn Juday's Boreal Alaska -- Learning, Adaptation and Production research project.
|From left, Professor Glenn Juday, Andrew Allaby and Miho Morimoto presented their research findings to the Reforestation Science and Technical Committee on Sept. 30.|
Both students reported on white spruce regeneration in the Tanana Valley State Forest since the 1983 Rosie Creek Fire decimated the area. Prior to BAKLAP, foresters were relying on information researched in other geographic areas. With state funding, BAKLAP researchers have been measuring and documenting that specific area. "We only had 12 years of work before," Juday explained. "I knew there was more to the story. With BAKLAP we were able to salvage that investment and make it pay off 30 years later. That's really gratifying to see."
Morimoto, a doctoral student, spoke on forest regeneration post-harvest in Fairbanks area of the Tanana Valley State Forest: meeting emerging biomass energy demands.
She has been evaluating harvest for sustainable yield, noting if harvest units are adequately regenerated, testing for significant differences in regeneration among different types of management and examining how much biomass was accumulated in 40 years post-harvest.
Morimoto studies harvest activities and reforestation by thoroughly examining existing databases. She also sampled 27 harvest units to study regeneration over the long term. Throughout the summer of 2013, she walked every plot, comparing techniques; and since then has been analyzing data.
She concluded harvest units are adequately regenerated, based on the State Sustainable Yield Standard and that site preparation and natural regeneration tended to produce denser and larger stems of regeneration and greater amounts of biomass. To produce larger spruce, she recommended planting seedlings and for biomass, she said site preparation and natural regeneration are the preferred method.
Grad student Allaby addressed which white spruce regeneration techniques were most effective in producing biomass. "When the Rosie Creek Fire burned a fair portion of the university forest it gave us an opportunity for new research," he said.
In a 66-acre study area, he has measured 140 units for white spruce stocking and scarification. He counted trees and measured the height of 16,000 trees on 4 1/2 acres. "It's starting to look like a forest," he said. "It's pleasing to see 60-foot tall aspens and birch and 28-year-old white spruce pushing 40 feet.
"Should we scarify?" he asked. "It depends on the forest management objectives. Should we plant spruce? Broadcasting and planting seedlings has a positive impact on biomass."
Juday added that the BAKLAP work and graduate student research help researchers focus on climate challenges. "They are actually playing out in pretty understandable ways but not always exact ways," he said.
The foresters at the Fairbanks meeting Tuesday and those on the phone from around the state were impressed with the UAF students' presentations. "The foresters seemed delighted," he said. "The relevance of our research now is very high. This is squarely on target for natural resources management information needs."