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Long-Term Structural Change in Uneven-Aged Northern Hardwoods

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The diameter distributions of 10 previously unmanaged northern hardwood stands on the Bartlett Experimental Forest in New Hampshire were analyzed to determine changes over a 35 yr period since a single cutting by the diameter-limit or single-tree selection methods. The diameter distribution of an uncut old-growth stand (the Bowl) provided a comparison. The cuttings left residual basal areas of 25 to 96 ft² of basal area per acre (5.7 to 22.0 m²/ha), as well as a wide range in diameter distribution. Basal area of the old-growth stand was 123 ft²/ac (28.2 m²/ha), and the diameter distribution was reverse J-shaped (negative exponential) as evidenced by a close fit (adjusted r² = 0.97) of log (no. of trees) over dbh class; the q (ratio between numbers of trees in successive 2 in. dbh classes) equaled 1.39. Under all cutting methods, the diameter distributions after 35 yr fit the reverse J-shaped form only moderately well with adjusted r²'s of 0.81 to 0.95. An equal or better fit in most cases (adjusted r²'s of 0.91 to 0.98) was provided by log (no. of trees) over dbh², which reflects the tendency of the quotients between numbers of trees per dbh class to increase with dbh. None of the initial diameter distributions of the cut stands had rotated sigmoid characteristics, but five of the final diameter distributions had significant rotated sigmoid characteristics, and at least two others showed graphical sigmoid tendencies. Apparently, rotated sigmoid characteristics are caused by disturbance, perhaps coupled with successional trends toward increased tolerant softwoods. For. Sci. 42(2):160-165.

Keywords: Diameter-distribution; balanced-stand; negative-exponential; q-distribution; rotated-sigmoid

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Forester with the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Cor. Concord and Mast Roads, P.O. Box 640, Durham, New Hampshire 03B24

Publication date: May 1, 1996

More about this publication?
  • 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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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