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Assessment of Ecological Land Type Community Characteristics for Silvicultural Diagnosis in the Central Hardwoods

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If ecosystem management replaces traditional multiple-use management on national forests, changes must be made in the delineation of forest stands reflecting ecological uniformity rather than cover type or physiographic uniformity. With delineation of ecological land units must come an understanding of forest community response to silvicultural practices and other disturbance within these units. The objective of this study was to define forest community characteristics of ecological land type phases (ELTPs) or uniform, repeatable communities in the eastern Central Hardwood Forest. Forest inventory data were collected from 80 plots along a moisture gradient in the Hoosier National Forest in southern Indiana. This gradient intersected recognized upland hardwood forest cover types which, with delineation by soil type, physiography, and indicator vegetation, could be classified into uniform ecological land type phases. Stand density, basal area, volume, standing biomass, productivity, species composition, and site index values for major species were compared among ELTPs using analysis of variance. Results indicate that significant differences in these parameters exist among different ELTPs which once were classified all as "upland hardwoods." Standing basal area, volume, biomass, and annual basal area, volume, and biomass increments were significantly different among ELTPs. Dry slopes and dry ridges were the least productive units. Dry-mesic slopes and dry-mesic ridges proved most suited for white oak management, one of the most valuable species in the region. Thus, silviculturists and forest managers should recognize these important community differences when planning treatment or inventory in the Central Hardwood Region. North. J. Appl. For. 14(2):72-77.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, 1159 Forestry Building, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Publication date: 1997-06-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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