Date of Award

2005

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Horticulture

Advisor

Reeser C. Manley

Second Committee Member

Michael S. Greenwood

Third Committee Member

Ruth Hutchins

Abstract

Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park has a declining vegetative understory, characterized by a lack of tree seedling recruitment and shrub populations. This project was embarked upon to identify limiting factors to tree seedling establishment and shrub survival. From these studies, management plans will be developed for revegetating the campground understory. To better understand the factors that inhibit successful seedling establishment, we investigated the effects of varying soil moisture levels on seed germination, seedling survival and seedling dry mass accumulation for red spruce and balsam fir. We also studied the effect of organic layer depth on seedling growth for both species. Our experimental results and observations indicate that a tree seedling population in the understory of Blackwoods Campground is attainable with natural seed inputs and current light levels, but that additional watering is required. Red spruce and balsam fir seed germination significantly decreased below a threshold of 25% soil moisture (based

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