Reproductive Mode and Mechanisms for Self-Replacement of Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) - A Review

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The requirements for regenerating northern red oak can be hypothesized from an understanding of the species' ecological life-history characteristics along with a knowledge of past and present disturbance patterns. The abundance of oak in the eastern forest is closely related to past land use and extensive disturbances. Frequent fires and heavy cutting favored oak because of its sprouting ability, while fires reduced common competitors. Northern red oak is neither an aggressive colonizer that is characteristic of early successional species nor an enduring, shade-tolerant, slow-grower that is typical of late successional species. Its regeneration requires an edge environment; one that is more mesic than exposed, open sites, but less competitive than the deep shade of a forest understory. To regenerate northern red oak, foresters need to create these conditions. Numerous cutting studies, however, have shown that overstory manipulation (partial or complete removal) alone will not regenerate northern red oak. Intense competition can be expected on the mesic sites suitable for northern red oak, and this competition must be controlled when regenerating this species. For. Sci. 34(1):19-40.

Keywords: Natural regeneration; North Central region; disturbance; ecological life history; presettlement vegetation; silvics; succession

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 898, Rhinelander, WI 54501

Publication date: March 1, 1988

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  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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