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Implications of Diameter Caps on Multiple Forest Resource Responses in the Context of the Four Forests Restoration Initiative: Results from the Forest Vegetation Simulator

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Meeting multiple resource objectives, such as increasing resilience to climate change, while simultaneously increasing watershed health, conserving biodiversity, protecting old-growth, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and promoting ecosystem health, is paramount to landscape restoration. Central to public land management efforts in the West is the widespread adoption of size-prohibited cutting of “large” trees, a limitation referred to as a “diameter cap.” In this study, we used the most commonly proposed prescription for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative in northern Arizona to explore the implications of diameter caps for multiple resource responses through the use of model simulations. We found that implementing progressively smaller caps in southwestern ponderosa pine may result in relatively similar live tree densities, canopy cover, and large snag densities but higher basal areas, mean tree size, torching indices, and scenic beauty with lower water yield and herbaceous production. When diameter cap scenarios are compared, tradeoffs exist, and no single metric is suited for overall scenario evaluation.
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Keywords: forest management; ponderosa pine; restoration; size limits; treatment scenarios

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-03-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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