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Interference to Hardwood Regeneration in Northeastern North America: Ecological Characteristics of American Beech, Striped Maple, and Hobblebush

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Several woody species may inhibit regeneration of desirable northern hardwoods. This includes a dense understory of American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) that commonly occurs in stands infected with beech bark disease. Root injuries during logging and by natural causes also promote new suckers that, along with some stump sprouts, often maintain or increase the abundance of beech saplings. Additionally, browsing deer primarily bypass beech in favor of more palatable species. Where any of these factors has resulted in a dense understory of small beech, overstory cutting will promote its development, increase ground-level shading, and lead to a site conversion to beech. Similarly, striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.) often interferes with hardwood regeneration after overstory cutting. This species persists in heavy shade, grows rapidly after release, and produces abundant seed. When dense, striped maple may interfere with the regeneration of other species. Hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium Marsh.), a shrub, reproduces by rhizomes to form thickets when damaged during overstory cutting. Heavy shade by these thickets may prevent regeneration of trees. This review summarizes characteristics of these three species with respect to their interference with desirable hardwoods in northeastern North America. It highlights the limited information about striped maple and hobblebush, and the abundance of sources that deal with American beech.

Keywords: American beech; hardwood regeneration; hobblebush; interfering plants; striped maple; understory interference

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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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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