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Morphological Changes in Leaves of Residual Western Hemlock after Clear and Shelterwood Cutting

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The change in microclimate associated with clear and shelterwood cutting had marked effects on the leaves of residual western hemlock trees. In a new clearcutting, old needles abscised prematurely and needles that formed during the first season of exposure were smaller than normal, apparently because of water stress. Needles formed in the second season had thicker palisade mesophyll, a smaller ratio of surface area to weight, and more stomata per unit surface area. Leaves that had developed in the shade and were later exposed showed a slight increase in thickness, probably because of increased palisade mesophyll development. These changes in leaf area and structure were toward a configuration which was more efficient in utilization of light and water in a clearcutting. Hemlock saplings left in a shelterwood suffered less needle loss and mortality, but they still developed needles adapted to full sunlight, suggesting a shelterwood as a beneficial treatment for understory hemlock. Forest Sci. 23:195-203.

Keywords: Palisade mesophyll; Tsuga heterophylla; microclimate; ratio of surface area to weight; stomatal frequency

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Associate, School of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331

Publication date: June 1, 1977

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