Skip to main content

Individual Tree and Stand Level Influences on the Growth, Vigor, and Decline of Red Oaks in the Ozarks

Buy Article:

$29.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Repeated oak decline and mortality events have occurred in the Ozark region for decades and probably longer. We sampled an age sequence of 1,259 black and scarlet oaks (Quercus velutina Lam. and Quercus coccinea Muench.) to better describe the process of oak decline and mortality in the red oak group (subgenera Erythrobalanus). Trend in basal area increment (BAI) over the most recent 40 years was used to establish three vigor classes for trees with decreasing, stable, or increasing growth (Declining, Stable, or Healthy). We compared crown condition measures with absolute BAI and boundary line BAI, a measure of radial growth adjusted for tree size. A pulse of mortality was found to occur just subsequent to the most recent drought, although decline often started decades previously. Time series of individual tree BAI suggests that half of all oak decline events were incited by one or two drought-related step-changes in growth and variance. Predisposing factors to decline generally showed significant but weak relationships with crown conditions. Surviving oaks growing in high-mortality stands had poorer crown conditions and grew more slowly than trees in low-mortality stands. When recently dead trees were accounted for, the same high-mortality stands had significantly greater predecline basal area and stocking than low-mortality stands. Thus, a less competitive growth environment may afford some buffer to drought stress before oak decline but does not appear to help afflicted stands improve their growth and vigor.

Keywords: boundary line basal area increment; drought; forest health; oak decline; shoot dieback

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
  • Submit a Paper
  • Membership Information
  • Author Guidelines
  • Podcasts
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more