Mistik strives to renew harvested forest stands to either their pre-harvest tree species composition or to a successional phase suitable to the harvested forest ecosite. Due to short fire return intervals and relatively large areas burned in the Mistik FMA area each year, Mistik has tailored its renewal program to minimize risk to silvicultural investment and maximize future forest management and timber product options.
In general, Mistik attempts to minimize investment per hectare (e.g. plant less trees per hectare while planting more total hectares), maximize the area of mixedwood renewal, and accept natural forest succession dynamics as the preferred mode of minimizing risk and maximizing future forest management and timber product options. The following descriptions identify the most common broad successional pathways of harvested sites within the Mistik FMA area:
Hardwood (‘H’) tA, bP
If there is a small component of scattered, low-density aspen growing onsite at the time of harvest, harvested blocks will regenerate vigorously to hardwood (primarily aspen). In essence, the default natural forest renewal pathway for most hardwood and mixedwood stands is to pure hardwood (‘H’) stands. Mistik’s approach to managing for hardwood stands is ‘do nothing’.
Mixedwood (‘HS’ and ‘SH’) tA/jP
If the site has a dominantly jP softwood component at the time of harvest, jP will likely regenerate naturally within 10 years of harvest from the cones scattered at the time of harvest. Mistik attempts to encourage natural jP renewal by scarifying harvested sites. The tA and jP will regenerate as a mix to rotation age (~ 80 to 90 yrs). In cases where the jP has not renewed adequately, Mistik will plant jP or wS.
Mixedwood (‘HS’ and ‘SH’) tA/wS/bS
If the site has a dominantly wS or bS softwood component at the time of harvest, Mistik will plant wS. The tA and wS or bS will regenerate as a mix to rotation age (~ 80 to 90 yrs). Most natural stands of tA/wS or bS exhibit several different age classes or understorey layers. The typical natural renewal pattern for wS or bS is for germination and growth under a hardwood canopy. White spruce produces periodic cone crops. The seed is released from the cones and dispersed by wind. These seeding events within a hardwood stand can occur repeatedly over decades. The end result is a single or multi-aged spruce understorey overtopped by an overstorey hardwood canopy. Given enough time (80 to 100 yrs), the spruce generally ‘trades places’ with the aspen and becomes ‘co-dominant’ with or ‘dominant’ to the aspen.
This video portrays the development of a boreal mixedwood forest on the Mistik Forest Management Agreement (FMA) Area from the time of harvest until maturity.
Softwood (‘S’) wS/bS/jP
Pure stands of wS are not common in the Mistik FMA area. Pure wS stands are generally associated with very old stands where the hardwood component has ‘fallen out’ due to age. Most of the current natural wS-dominant stands commenced as mixedwoods at stand initiation. Given adequate time to grow, the softwood potential of mixedwoods expresses itself. Mistik plants wS within all harvest areas containing pure wS or bS. The most common pure softwood type within the Mistik FMA area is jP. Jack Pine grows vigorously on a range of sites. The most common growing conditions for jP is on sand-dominated soil types. These sites are generally of such low productivity that hardwood species do not grow well. Jack Pine generally regenerates naturally within 10 years of harvest from the cones scattered at the time of harvest. Mistik attempts to encourage natural jP renewal by scarifying harvested sites. In the absence of adequate jP renewal, Mistik will plant these sites.
In the absence of Mistik’s efforts to promote softwood renewal (scarification and tree planting), many of the harvested mixedwood stands within the Mistik FMA area would default to dominantly pure hardwood renewal. Mistik’s prompt softwood renewal program ensures that harvested mixedwood and pure softwood sites have the potential to grow into mixedwood and pure softwood stands over time. Mistik is committed to maintaining the diversity of forest ecosystem types within the harvested productive forest land base.