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Title: Overstory and understory relationships in longleaf pine plantations 14 years after thinning and woody control
Author: Harrington, Timothy B.
Source: Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 41: 2301-2314
Description: To develop silvicultural strategies for restoring longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) savannas, mortality and growth of overstory pines and midstory hardwoods and abundance and species richness of herbs were studied for 14 years after pine thinning and nonpine woody control. Pine cover in thinned stands was about half of that in nonthinned stands through year 5, but it lagged by only 8% and 3% in years 9 and 14, respectively, because of vigorous crown responses. Despite a cumulative mortality of 64% of hardwood stems from prescribed fires in years 0, 4, and 9, hardwood basal area in thinned stands was three times that in nonthinned stands in year 14. Thinning was associated with 13%-22% more cover and six to eight more species of herbs in years 3-8 but only 6% more cover and two more species in year 14 because of accelerated growth of pine cover and hardwood basal area. However, similar increases in cover and richness of herb species in the woody control treatment were retained through year 14 because it had sustained reductions in hardwood and shrub abundance. Silvicultural strategies that substantially delay encroachment by pines, hardwoods, and shrubs will be those most effective at retaining herb species in longleaf pine savannas, including planting pines at wide spacing, periodic thinning and woody control, and frequent burning.
Keywords: savannah, community restoration, competition
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Harrington, Timothy B. 2011. Overstory and understory relationships in longleaf pine plantations 14 years after thinning and woody control. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 41: 2301-2314.
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