Fertilization Research

Although other silvicultural treatments may redistribute volume and/or increase piece size and value, fertilization is the most proven method for increasing harvest volume and accelerating the operability of established stands. As such, fertilization is widely viewed by forest managers and practitioners as a potentially valuable tool for mitigating "pinch points" in the mid-term timber supply caused by age class imbalances, and for increasing long term harvest levels.

During the past several decades, extensive research has been conducted to determine the nutritional status of coastal and interior forests and to document the effectiveness of single and repeated nutrient additions on improving tree and stand growth across a wide range of species and sites. The biological basis for fertilizing forests is to supply nutrient elements that constrain tree growth. Fertilization research has confirmed that nitrogen (N) deficiencies are widespread in B.C. forests, and that N additions often have a substantial positive effect on tree and stand growth. Other nutrient deficiencies, either induced or aggravated by N fertilization, have also been implicated as growth-limiting factors, especially in interior forests. For example, larger growth responses are often obtained by including sulphur (S) or boron (B) in fertilizer prescriptions for lodgepole pine.

Growth and yield data from area-based fertilization experiments is a vital source of data for treatment response predictions within managed stand growth and yield models. Over the long term, these field installations also provide data for checking a model's growth trends.

Experimental Projects - Coast

EP

Title

# Installation

Year Establ.

703

Extensive Studies of Fertilizing and Thinning Coastal Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock

78

1971-1975

1097

Effects of Thinning and Fertilization on Growth and Yield of Coastal Sitka Spruce - Western Hemlock stands on the Queen Charlotte Islands

1

1991

1177

Whistler Biosolids Forest Fertilization Program

2

1994

1258

Shawnigan Lake Fertilization and Thinning Experiment

  1971 

Experimental Projects - Interior

 
EP Title #Inst Year Established

886.01a

Nitrogen fertilization of lodgepole pine

11

1981 - 1983

886.01b

Nitrogen, sulphur and boron fertilization of lodgepole pine 4 1986

886.01c

Nitrogen and sulphur fertilization of interior conifers 31 1992-2002

886.01d

Fertilizer x thinning interactions in lodgepole pine 1 1992

886.01e

Effects of nitrogen application rate on the growth of lodgepole pine 1 2000

886.04

Response of young lodgepole pine to spring and fall applications of urea and ammonium nitrate fertilizer 3 1984

886.05

Response of juvenile-spaced lodgepole pine to nitrogen and boron fertilization 1 1984

886.07

Response of a young interior spruce plantation to fertilizer application 1 1987

886.08

Interior spruce, Douglas-fir and western larch fertilizer screening trials in the British Columbia interior     27 1987-1988

886.09

Response of young lodgepole pine to nitrogen and sulphur fertilization 7 1988-1999

886.10

The effect of nitrogen and sulphur application rates and sulphur source on the nutrition and growth of lodgepole pine 2 1990

886.12

The effects of nitrogen, sulphur and boron on the nutrition, health and growth of immature lodgepole pine 1 1990

886.13

Maximizing the productivity of young forests in the interior of British Columbia 8 1992 - 1999

886.14

Effects of nitrogen source on the growth of lodgepole pine 1 1999

886.15

Sulphur fertilization of lodgepole pine: a stable isotope tracer study 2 2002

Fertilization Publications

  • Addo-Danso, S.D., C.E. Prescott, and L. de Montigny. 2019. Responses of western hemlock, western redcedar, and amabilis fir to fertilization: a synthesis. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 123.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2007. Assessing the effects of fertilization on understorey vegetation in young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in central British Columbia. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 81.
  • Jang, W., B.N.I. Eskelson, and L. de Montigny. 2019. Tree damage after fertilization of thinned lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, and spruce stands in the British Columbia interior: synthesis report on up to 18-year responses from EP886. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 120.
  • Reid, A., L. de Montigny, C. Prescott, and T. Sajedi. 2017. A systematic review of forest fertilization research in interior British Columbia. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 111.

The National Research Council of Canada grants permission to individuals to download or print single copies of articles published by the NRC Research Press: NRC Publications

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Publications Search

  • Addo-Danso, S.D., C.E. Prescott, and L. de Montigny. 2019. Responses of western hemlock, western redcedar, and amabilis fir to fertilization: a synthesis. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 123.
  • Jang, W., B.N.I. Eskelson, and L. de Montigny. 2019. Tree damage after fertilization of thinned lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, and spruce stands in the British Columbia interior: synthesis report on up to 18-year responses from EP886. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 120.
  • Reid, A., L. de Montigny, C. Prescott, and T. Sajedi. 2017. A systematic review of forest fertilization research in interior British Columbia. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 111.
  • Omule, A.Y., A.K. Mitchell, and W.L. Wagner. 2011. Fertilization and thinning effects on a Douglas-fir ecosystem at Shawnigan Lake: 32-year growth response. Nat. Resources Can., Can. For. Serv., Pac. For. Cent., Victoria, BC. Inf. Rep. FI-X-005.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2010. Effects of intensive fertilization on the foliar nutrition and growth of young lodgepole pine forests in the British Columbia interior: 12 year results. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 058.
  • Brockley, R.P. and P. Sanborn. 2009. Effects of repeated fertilization on forest floor and mineral soil properties in young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in central British Columbia. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 052.
  • Berch, S. and R.P. Brockley. 2008. Effects of repeated fertilization on fine roots, mycorrhizae, and soil mesofauna in young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in central British Columbia. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 84.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2008. Can thinning and fertilizing young lodgepole pine mitigate future timber supply challenges? B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 82.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2007. Assessing the effects of fertilization on understorey vegetation in young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in central British Columbia. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 81.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2006. Comparing the effects of urea and ammonium nitrate fertilizers on the growth and foliar nutrition of lodgepole pine: 6-year results. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 78.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2006. Effects of fertilization on the growth and foliar nutrition of immature Douglas-fir in the Interior Cedar–Hemlock zone of British Columbia. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Res. Rep. 27.
  • Sanborn, P. and R. Brockley. 2005. Sulphur deficiencies in lodgepole pine: occurrence, diagnosis, and treatment. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 71.
  • Sanborn, P., R. Brockley, B. Mayer, M. Yan, and J. Prietzel. 2005. Sulphur fertilization of lodgepole pine: a stable isotope tracer study (E.P. 886.15) establishment report. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 020.
  • Brockley, R.P. and D.G. Simpson. 2004. Effects of intensive fertilization on the foliar nutrition and growth of young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in the interior of British Columbia (E.P. 886.13): establishment and progress report. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 018.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2001. Foliar sampling guidelines and nutrient interpretative criteria for lodgepole pine. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 52.
  • de Montigny, L. and S. Stearns-Smith. 2001. Douglas-fir fertilization with biosolids: five-year results at Whistler, B.C. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 50.
  • Muir, J.A., L. de Montigny, J.D. Beale, R.J. Nevill, and A. Zumrawi. 2001. Thinning and fertilizing effects in root diseases of Douglas-fir in coastal British Columbia. B.C. Min. For., For. Pract. Br., Victoria, B.C. For. Health Disease Manag. Rep. No. 1.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2000. Using foliar nutrient levels to predict lodgepole pine fertilization response. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 44.
  • Brown, K. 1999. First-year growth responses of young red alder stands to fertilization. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 36.
  • Brown, K.R. 1999. Mineral nutrition and fertilization of deciduous broadleaved tree species in British Columbia. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Work. Pap. 42.
  • de Montigny, L. and R.J. de Jong. 1998. Effects of thinning and fertilizing mixed western hemlock–Sitka spruce stands. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Res. Rep. 13.
  • de Montigny, L. and R.J. de Jong. 1998. Effects of thinning and fertilizing mixed western hemlock–Sitka spruce stands. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 28.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1996. Lodgepole pine nutrition and fertilization: a summary of B.C. Ministry of Forests research results. Can. For. Serv. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 266.
  • Stone, J.N. 1994. Extensive studies of fertilizing and thinning coastal Douglas-fir and western hemlock: an installation report. Can. For. Serv. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 227.
  • van Akker, L., R. Brockley, and R. Alfaro. 2005. Interactions between fertilization and white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi) attack in young interior spruce plantations. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 75.
  • Brix, H. 1993. Fertilization and thinning effects on a Douglas-fir ecosystem at Shawnigan Lake: a synthesis of project results. For. Can. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 196.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1992. Response of thinned, immature lodgepole pine to nitrogen fertilization: six-year growth response. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Memo 202.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1991. Response of thinned, immature lodgepole pine to nitrogen fertilization: six-year growth response. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 184.
  • Omule, S.A.Y. and G.M. Britton. 1991. Basal area response nine years after fertilizing and thinning western hemlock. For. Can. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 137.
  • Brockley, R.P. and K. Swift. 1990. Interior spruce, Douglas-fir, and western larch fertilizer screening trials in the British Columbia interior. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Memo 129.
  • Omule, S.A.Y. 1990. Net basal area response 9 years after fertilizing thinned and unthinned Douglas-fir. Can. For. Serv. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 097.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1989. The effects of fertilization on the early growth of planted seedlings: a problem analysis. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Memo 081.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1989. The response of young lodgepole pine to spring and fall applications of urea and ammonium nitrate fertilizer. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Res. Memo 120.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1989. Response of thinned, immature lodgepole pine to nitrogen fertilization: three-year growth response. Can. For. Serv. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 036.
  • Darling, L.M. and S.A.Y. Omule. 1989. Extensive studies of fertilizing and thinning coastal Douglas-fir and western hemlock: an establishment report. Can. For. Serv. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 054.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1988. The effects of fertilization on the early growth of planted seedlings: a problem analysis. Can. For. Serv. and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. FRDA Rep. 011.
  • Brockley, R.P. and D. Yole. 1985. Growth response of lodgepole pine to operational fertilizer application near Burns Lake, B.C. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Res. Rep. RR85005-HQ.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2001. Fertilization of lodgepole pine in western Canada. In: Proc. Enhanced For. Manag.: Fert. and Econ. Conf., Mar. 1–2, 2001, Edmonton, Alta. C. Bamsey (editor). Clear Lake Ltd., Edmonton, Alta., pp. 44–55.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2001. Foliar analysis as a planning tool for operational fertilization. In: Proc. Enhanced For. Manag.: Fert. and Econ. Conf., Mar. 1–2, 2001, Edmonton, Alta. C. Bamsey (editor). Clear Lake Ltd., Edmonton, Alta., pp. 63–68.
  • DiLucca, C.M. 2001. Using TIPSY to analyze the value of fertilized lodgepole pine stands. In: Proc. Enhanced For. Manag.: Fert. and Econ. Conf., Mar. 1–2, 2001, Edmonton, Alta. C. Bamsey (editor). Clear Lake Ltd., Edmonton, Alta., pp. 130–137.
  • Brockley, R.P. 1996. Lodgepole pine nutrition and fertilization. In: Stand management prescriptions for lodgepole pine. Proc. North. Silv. Comm. Winter Workshop, Mar. 5–7, 1996, Prince George, B.C. C. Farnden (editor). North. Silv. Committee and For. Renewal B.C. 
  • Brockley, R.P., R.L. Trowbridge, T.M. Ballard, and A.M. Macadam. 1992. Nutrient management in interior forest types. In: Proc. For. Fert.: Sustaining and Improving Nutrition and Growth of West. For., Feb. 12–14, 1991, Seattle, Wash. H.N. Chappell, G.F. Weetman, and R.E. Miller (editors). Univ. Washington, Seattle, Wash. Contrib. 73, pp. 43–64. 
  • Chappell, H.N., S.A.Y. Omule, and S.P. Gessel. 1992. Fertilization in coastal northwest forests: using response information in developing stand-level tactics. In: Proc. For. Fert.: Sustaining and Improving Nutrition and Growth of West. For., Feb. 12–14, 1991, Seattle, Wash. H.N. Chappell, G.F. Weetman, and R.E. Miller (editors). Univ. Washington, Seattle, Wash. Contrib. 73, pp. 98–113. 
  • Mika, P.G., J.A. Moore, R.P. Brockley, and R.F. Powers. 1992. Fertilization response by interior forests: when, where, and how much? In: Proc. For. Fert.: Sustaining and Improving Nutrition and Growth of West. For., Feb. 12–14, 1991, Seattle, Wash. H.N. Chappell, G.F. Weetman, and R.E. Miller (editors). Univ. Washington, Seattle, Wash. Contrib. 73, pp. 127–142. 
  •  
  • Brockley, R.P. 1991. Forest fertilization research in the interior of British Columbia. In: Proc. of a For. Fert. Workshop: Improving For. Fert. Decision-making in British Columbia, Mar. 2–3, 1988, Vancouver, B.C. J.D. Lousier, H. Brix, R. Brockley, R.
  • Carter, and V.G. Marshall (editors). B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C., pp. 236–251. 
  • Kumi, J., J.D. Lousier, and S.A.Y. Omule. 1991. Coastal B.C. forest fertilization research. In: Proc. of a For. Fert. Workshop: Improving For. Fert. Decision-making in British Columbia, Mar. 2–3, 1988, Vancouver, B.C. J.D. Lousier, H. Brix, R. Brockley, R. Carter, and V.G. Marshall (editors). B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C., pp. 230–235. 
  • Brockley, R.P. and T.P. Sullivan. 1988. Relationship of feeding damage by red squirrels to cultural treatments in young stands of lodgepole pine. In: Proc. Future For. of the Mountain West: a Stand Culture Symp., Sept. 29–Oct. 3, 1986, Missoula, Mont. W.C. Schmidt (editor). U.S. Dep. Agric., For. Serv., Ogden, Utah. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-243, pp. 322–329. 
  • Brockley, R.P. 1986. Ministry of Forests fertilization research in the B.C. interior. In: Proc. Interior For. Fert. Workshop, Feb. 4–5, 1986, Kamloops, B.C. R.P. Brockley (editor). B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C., pp. 77–101. 
  • Miller, R.E., P.R. Barker, C.E. Peterson, and S.R. Webster. 1986. Using nitrogen fertilizers in management of coast Douglas-fir: I. Regional trends of response. In: Douglas-fir: Stand Manag. for the Future, June 18–20, 1985, Seattle, Wash. C.D. Oliver, D.P. Handley, and F.A. Johnson (editors). Univ. Washington, Seattle, Wash. Contrib. 55, pp. 290–303. 
  • Peterson, C.E., S.R. Webster, P.R. Barker, and R.E. Miller. 1986. Using nitrogen fertilizers in management of coast Douglas-fir: II. Future informational needs. In: Douglas-fir: Stand Manag. for the Future, June 18–20, 1985, Seattle, Wash. C.D. Oliver, D.P. Handley, and F.A. Johnson (editors). Univ. Washington, Seattle, Wash. Contrib. 55, pp. 304–309.

Issues of FORREX publications can be downloaded from FORREX - Forest Research Extension Partnership [LINK BROKEN]

  • Sanborn, P.T. and R.P. Brockley. 2006. A research update: sulphur nutrition of lodgepole pine. FORREX – For. Res. Exten. Partnership, Kamloops, B.C. LINK 7(3):18–19. 
  • vanAkker, L., R.I. Alfaro, and R. Brockley. 2005. Fertilization effects on weevil damage: not all bad news. FORREX – For. Res. Exten. Partnership, Kamloops, B.C. LINK 6(3):20–21.
  • Brockley, R.P. and P. Sanborn. 2004. Managing the sulphur nutrition of lodgepole pine. For. Res. Exten. Partnership (FORREX), Kamloops, B.C. LINK 5(4):6.
  • Brockley, R.P. 2004. Intensive fertilization may improve timber supply. FORREX – For. Res. Exten. Partnership, Kamloops, B.C. LINK 6(2):16–17. 
  • Brockley, R.P. 2002. Scientists develop "expert" system for diagnosing the foliar nutrient status of lodgepole pine. South. Interior For. Exten. Res. Partnership (SIFERP), Kamloops, B.C. LINK 3(3):18. 
  • Girard, A. 2014. A five-year comparison, between fertilizer and biosolids, of yield in a coastal Douglas-fir plantation: an eighteen year post fertilization growth response assessment. BScF thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Amponsah, I.G. 2004. Factors contributing to variation in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) response to fertilization. PhD thesis. Univ. Alberta, Edmonton, Alta. 
  • Blevins, D.P. 2004. The influence of nutrition and density on repressed lodgepole pine. PhD thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. 
  • Negrave, R.W. 2004. Nutrient and establishment density effects on structural development and growth processes in juvenile western redcedar and western hemlock stands on northern Vancouver Island. PhD thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. 
  • vanAkker, L. 2002. The effects of fertilizer treatments on the resin canal defenses of spruce and incidence of attack by the white pine weevil, Pissodes strobi. MSc thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
  • White, J.B. 2000. Studies of western hemlock nutrition. PhD thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. 
  • Kishchuk, B.E. 1998. Sulphur availability on interior lodgepole pine sites. PhD thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. 
  • Zhong, A. 1998. Efficacy of secondary biosolids fertilization in a managed Douglas-fir forest in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone of British Columbia. PhD thesis. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Swift, K.I. 1991. Response of interior spruce to fertilization in the interior of British Columbia. Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. 
  • Thomson, A., R. Brockley, and J. Saini. 2001. Lodgepole pine foliar nutrient diagnosis and fertilizer advisory system. Can. For. Serv., Victoria, B.C.