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Assessment of Residual Stand Quality and Regeneration Following Shelterwood Cutting in Central Appalachian Hardwoods

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Partial cutting to develop two-age stands is a relatively new practice in the central Appalachian region, and forest managers need quantitative information in order to evaluate how well it meets management objectives. Typically, this practice leaves a residual overstory of 10 to 40 ft² per ac of basal area and leads to regeneration of desirable shade-intolerant species which comprise the second age class. In this study we evaluated residual tree quality and regeneration 2 to 5 yr after cutting in 20 stands on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Tree grades were not significantly affected by the cutting. The largest grade reductions, due primarily to epicormic branching and logging wounds, occurred with large white oak sawtimber (11%) and white ash small sawtimber (10%). Epicormic branching following the cut was greatest for white oaks in the suppressed and intermediate crown classes. Across all species, the trees in the lower crown classes produced the greatest number of epicormic branches. Overall, epicormic branching on the 16 ft butt logs of dominant and codominant trees was low. For white oak (Quercus alba), 64% of these trees produced no epicormic branches. But 75% of yellow-poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera), 82% of black cherries (Prunus serotina), 78% of northern red oaks (Quercus rubra), and 89% of white ashes (Fraxinus americana) produced no epicormic branches on butt logs. Logging wounds occurred on 45% of the residual trees across the 20 stands, but 21% had large wounds over 100 in². Regeneration of both shade-intolerant and tolerant species was prolific following the cutting. Total numbers of tree seedlings and sprouts ranged from 8,217 stems/ac in the mixed oak stands of the Ridge and Valley Province to 30,845 stems/ac in the beech-cherry-maple stands in the Allegheny Mountains. The birches, primarily sweet birch (Betula lenta), comprised the most abundant species across the study area, but species composition varied depending on forest cover type. Regeneration numbers were lowest in the mixed oak stands in the Ridge and Valley Province. North. J. Appl. For. 15(4):203-210.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, 210 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0323

Publication date: 1998-12-01

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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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