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A Functional Comparison of Productivity in Even-Aged and Multiaged Stands: A Synthesis for Pinus ponderosa

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The relative productivity of even-aged and uneven-aged or multiaged stands is a frequently debated topic in silviculture and forestry. Nearly all previous comparisons have been empirical growth studies, simulations of stand growth, or economic analyses based on differences in stem volume production. Both even-aged and multiaged systems are highly variable and the large number of variables and assumptions makes any comparisons difficult. In this review, a series of studies in ponderosa pine are synthesized to develop a more functional understanding of the relative stemwood productivity of these variable stand structures. Multiaged ponderosa pine stands were either as efficient or slightly more efficient at converting light energy to volume growth than even-aged stands. Even-aged stands appear to experience a higher level of mid-summer water stress than multiaged stands. This finding suggests reduced photosynthesis in even-aged stands and a possible cause for a slightly lower level of productivity in even-aged stands. However, differences in productivity are likely insignificant in comparison to the wide variations in even-aged and multiaged structures and differences caused by the operations necessary to maintain these structures. As ponderosa pine systems are primarily water-limited, these results may not apply to more light-limited systems.
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Keywords: Selection silviculture; growing space efficiency; growth efficiency; leaf area index; ponderosa pine; uneven-aged

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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