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Relationships between growth, quality, and stocking within managed old-growth northern hardwoods

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An understanding of long-term growth dynamics is central to the development of sustainable uneven-aged silvicultural systems for northern hardwood forests in eastern North America. Of particular importance are quantitative assessments of the relationships between stocking control and long-term growth and quality development. This study examined these relationships in a long-term silviculture experiment established in northern hardwood stands in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. Stands were old growth at the onset of the experiment and were maintained at three residual stocking levels (11.5, 16.1, and 20.7 m2·ha–1) over a 57-year period. Several aspects of long-term stocking control were evaluated, including the effects of residual stocking on tree quality development and the relationships between stand stocking and individual tree growth and stand-level production. Results suggest that residual stocking had little impact on quality development, likely due to the initial old-growth condition of the stands examined. In contrast, our results indicate that a range of stand densities will maintain acceptable rates of stand-level production in selection systems and that growth can be shifted between diameter classes depending on desired future stand conditions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA. 2: USDA, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, USA.

Publication date: 2012-06-08

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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