In 2015, 543 million seedlings were planted on 370,000 hectares (ha) of provincial forest lands in Canada. Seeding was used to re-establish forests on an additional 7,900 ha.
- The number of seedlings planted has remained relatively stable since 2013 and is within 1% of the 10-year average.
- For the past six years, seeding has accounted for less than 4% of the area artificially regenerated.
- Most regeneration activities occur on harvested lands, so steady rates of regeneration reflect stable harvest levels.
Successful regeneration is required following forest harvesting on Crown lands. Regeneration may be achieved through natural or artificial (planting or seeding) means. The type of forest, type of harvesting method and desired composition of the new forest determine the regeneration method.
Why is this indicator important?
- Regeneration activities ensure that harvested areas regrow as forests continue to produce timber and maintain ecosystem services, such as storing carbon, regulating water quality and providing habitat.
- How forests are regenerated can influence forest composition over time.
What is the outlook?
- Regeneration is required on all Crown lands in Canada, so virtually all harvested lands will continue to be regenerated.
- The area regenerated is related primarily to recent harvest levels, which are influenced by market conditions for wood products.
- The proportions of natural and artificial regeneration are unlikely to deviate from recent trends.
- National Forestry Database. Silviculture – National tables, Table 6.6, Area of direct seeding by ownership and province/territory, 1990–2015. (accessed June 30, 2017).
- National Forestry Database. Silviculture – National tables, Table 6.7, Area planted by ownership, species, and province/territory, 1990–2015. (accessed June 30, 2017).
- National Forestry Database. Silviculture – National tables, Table 6.8, Number of seedlings planted by ownership, species and province/territory, 1990–2015. (accessed June 30, 2017).
- Data are for forests on provincial Crown lands across Canada.
- Federally and privately owned lands are excluded.
- Artificial regeneration rates tend to lag behind harvest rates because of the time that may be required for planning, production of seedlings, and site preparation.
- Natural regeneration is often the most efficient approach for regenerating harvested areas when there is abundant existing understorey regeneration and a plentiful seed supply (e.g. lowland black spruce and tolerant hardwoods, respectively), or when tree species that can resprout from established root systems are present and desired (e.g. trembling aspen).
- Artificial regeneration is suitable for sites where there is insufficient desired natural regeneration and where the objective is to achieve species composition targets required for sustainable forest management objectives.
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