Forests, Lands, and NR Operations

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The Role of Broadleaf Trees: Impacts of Managing Boreal and Sub-boreal Mixedwood Forests in British Columbia

Author(s) or contact(s): G.J. Harper and J. Roach
Source: Forests, Lands, and NR Operations
Subject: Hardwoods and Mixedwoods
Series: Extension Note
Other details:  Published 2014. Hardcopy is available.


Within the boreal and sub-boreal forests of northern British Columbia large areas of broadleaves occur naturally in mixture with conifers or as pure stands. Many conifer plantations contain significant numbers of naturally regenerating trembling aspen, birch, and cottonwood. Broadleaves have historically been undervalued and considered an impediment to conifer establishment and growth, as reflected in the freegrowing guidebooks that suggest limits to the presence of broadleaf trees in regenerating stands. Legislation and policy have evolved to promote practices that minimize broadleaf impact and optimize conifer stand growth and yield with the goal of supporting a sustainable timber supply.

Although broadleaves certainly can have antagonistic effects on conifer growth and survival and currently have lower value, they also contribute positive influences and attributes. They provide various ecological, social, and non-timber values; have significant value in shaping forest ecology, stand structure, and function; and exert a strong influence on forest diversity and resilience.

Extension Note 110 (1024 KB)

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Updated May 20, 2014