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Title: Crown class dynamics of oaks after commercial thinning in West Virginia: 30-year results

Author: Miller, Gary W.; Schuler, Jamie L.; Rentch, James S.;

Date: 2017

Source: In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 193-201.

Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Commercial thinning in hardwood stands is generally applied to reduce overcrowding and to favor the development of desired residual species until the stand is mature. In mixed hardwood stands, commercial thinning also provides an opportunity to promote vigorous overstory oaks (Quercus spp.) that will serve as sources of acorns and advanced seedlings needed to regenerate oaks in the next stand. Forest managers need information on sustaining and increasing the number of overstory oaks at mid-rotation when the stand is still several decades from maturity. In this study, crown class dynamics of 897 northern red (Quercus rubra), chestnut (Q. montana), and scarlet (Q. coccinea) oaks were monitored for 30 years after commercial thinning in 53-year-old central Appalachian mixed hardwood forests. Twenty 3-acre treatment plots were included in the study, and individual trees were examined immediately after thinning in 1983 and again in 2013. Fisher's exact test was used to compare the distributions of ending canopy position for thinned and control plots. In general, thinning enhanced crown class stability and survival rates of oaks that began in the upper canopy. For oaks that began in the intermediate crown class, the transition rates to the upper canopy after thinning were 33, 25, and 0 percent for northern red oak, chestnut oak, and scarlet oak, respectively. In control plots, oaks that began in the lower canopy had greater mortality rates, and very few trees ascended to the upper canopy. Forest managers can use this information to plan mid-rotation thinning treatments to enhance upper canopy species composition in the latter stages of stand development.

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Citation:


Miller, Gary W.; Schuler, Jamie L.; Rentch, James S. 2017. Crown class dynamics of oaks after commercial thinning in West Virginia: 30-year results. In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 193-201.

 


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