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Sustainability of the Selection System in Northern Hardwood Forests

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The selection silvicultural system is widely recommended for sustainable management of North American cool-temperate tolerant hardwood forests, yet concerns about high-grading, excessive removals, and adequate regeneration persist. We used field measurement of 96 recently harvested stands in the Great Lakes Region of the United States, under corporate, nonindustrial private, and state ownership, to appraise the observance of accepted standards. Current overstory and stumps from harvest were used to estimate pre- and postharvest stand composition, structure, and stocking. Preharvest condition was fully or overstocked in all stands irrespective of ownership. Neither pre- nor postharvest classification of stocking by size class showed statistical differences among landowners, although in absolute terms the greatest removals were on state forests and the least on corporate lands. However, only 23% of harvests overall conformed to accepted standards. Potential consequences in the 41% of stands cut heavily include diminished future yield due to low stocking, and the 36% of stands cut lightly may have compromised regeneration through insufficient disturbance. Hypotheses about landowner differences were not supported, suggesting that many are either unaware of standard practices or choose alternatives; the consequence is possible diminished long-term sustainability in the tolerant hardwood type.
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Keywords: Arbogast; nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF); northern hardwoods; selection system; silviculture

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-04-01

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
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