Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (610 KB)

Title: Understory structure in a 23-year-old Acacia koa forest and 2-year growth responses to silvicultural treatments

Author: Scowcroft, Paul G.; Haraguchi, Janis E.; Fujii, David M.;

Date: 2008

Source: Forest Ecology and Management 255: 1604-1617

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Restoration of degraded Acacia koa forests in Hawaii often involves mechanical scarification to stimulate germination of seed buried in the soil and to suppress vegetation that competes with shade intolerant A. koa. Resulting even-age stands are gradually colonized by other plant species, but understory structure is poorly quantified, and the effects of management on understory vegetation are unknown. We examined the structure of the dominant understory species 23 years after stand initiation and determined their subsequent 2-year growth responses to silvicultural treatments prescribed to improve growth of koa. Release thinning, chemical control of introduced grasses, and phosphorus fertilization were applied in a split-plot experimental design. Results for DBH and height class distributions indicated that recruitment for most tree species began within a few years of stand initiation. By 23 years understory trees made up only 14% of total stand basal area, but they added greatly to native plant biodiversity. Alien grasses covered 92% of the forest floor and averaged 1.35 Mg ha−1. Of the four most abundant native understory tree species, only shade intolerant Myoporum sandwicense grew faster in response to the treatments. P-fertilizer combined with grass control significantly increased production of the native shrub, Rubus hawaiiensis. Notably, alien grass biomass did not increase in response to thinning, and actually declined in P-fertilized plots. Only, where P-fertilizer was applied were P concentrations of understory leaves elevated. Foliar concentrations of other nutrients were generally unaffected by treatments. Our findings suggest that the conservative silvicultural treatments we used can be applied without adversely impacting the capacity of aggrading A. koa forests to support a diversity of native understory plants. Lack of an increase in alien grass biomass, and in the case of P fertilization, a reduction in grass biomass, indicates that treatments should not increase competition with native species.

Keywords: Subtropical lower montane wet forest, Introduced-grass control, Release thinning, P fertilization, Leaf nutrient concentrations, Hawaii

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Scowcroft, Paul G.; Haraguchi, Janis E.; Fujii, David M. 2008. Understory structure in a 23-year-old Acacia koa forest and 2-year growth responses to silvicultural treatments. Forest Ecology and Management 255: 1604-1617


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.