Eastern White Pine Abundance in 19th Century Forests: A Reexamination of Evidence from Land Surveys and Lumber Statistics
Author: Lorimer, Craig G.
Source: Journal of Forestry, Volume 106, Number 5, July/August 2008 , pp. 253-260(8)
Publisher: Society of American Foresters
Abstract:Information on the relative abundance of early and late-successional species in presettlement forests is useful in formulating management plans that emulate natural processes. In northern Maine, early 19th century land surveys have suggested a low proportion of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) and other fire-adapted species. A recent article in this journal proposed a much higher abundance of pine based on lumber production statistics; suggested reasons for lower abundance in the land survey documents included limited timber cruise data, possible reductions from logging, and surveyor bias. This article provides an analysis of land survey documents for 283 townships covering 7.2 million ac of northern Maine. Multiple lines of evidence are internally consistent in indicating low average pine volumes of about 320 bd ft/ac, 48% of the levels suggested by lumber statistics. Likely reasons for the differences are discussed, as well as implications for presettlement disturbance regimes.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2008-07-01
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