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Title: Initial response of understory vegetation to three alternative thinning treatments

Author: Davis, Liane R.; Puettmann, Klaus J.;

Date: 2009

Source: Journal of Sustainable Forestry. 28: 904-934

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: This study compares initial understory vegetation response among three thinning treatments and a control in 30 - to 50-year-old even-aged Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco (Douglas-fir) stands. It was conducted on four sites on the western slope of the central Oregon Cascades. Treatments included a control (no thinning), a light thinning, and two treatments designed to encourage development of understory vegetation: a light thinning with gap creation and a heavy thinning. Vegetation response was measured during the first posttreatment growing season and 5 to 7 years later. Vegetation structure and composition differed between thinned and unthinned stands but varied little among thinning treatments. Thinnings resulted in initial declines of bryopbytes, tall shrubs, and low shrubs followed by subsequent recovery and growth. Herbs displayed little initial response, but a release of early-seral species was evident in thinned stands by 5 to 7 years posttreatment. The addition of gaps resulted in differentiation of plant composition across the gradient from gap center to the thinned forest matrix, but this was only statistically detectable at a within-treatment scale. The causal mechanisms driving initial postthinning response are discussed to better understand longterm implications and potential roles of thinning in managing for understory vegetation.

Keywords: forest management, understory vegetation, thinning, density management, forest structure, forest composition, late-seral, ecosystem management, gaps, Douglas-fir

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Davis, L.R.; Puettmann, K.J. 2009. Initial response of understory vegetation to three alternative thinning treatments. Journal of Sustainable Forestry. 28: 904-934.


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