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Influence of Species on Site Selection and Timber Removal: A Case Study for West Virginia

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Over the last 40 years the composition of West Virginia forests has been changing as selective cutting practices have removed larger-diameter timber of specific species and partial canopy removal has fostered the regeneration of shade-tolerant species such as red maple. However, since the mid-1990s there has been considerable change in the number of markets accepting lower-quality and smaller-diameter roundwood, especially yellow-poplar. These changes have increased the number of roundwood markets and thus have increased the potential for harvesting based on silvicultural objectives or clearcuts. An examination of harvesting and merchandising practices for 28 harvest sites in West Virginia found an average of four merchandising separations or markets per site. Although the presence of new markets may have increased the section of sites containing yellow-poplar and the removal of this species from these sites, the continuation of diameter-limit cutting seems to have the greatest effect on which trees are removed. This pattern of partial harvests continues to favor the regeneration of shade-tolerant species such as red and sugar maple.
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Keywords: forest composition; hardwood markets; harvesting; yellow-poplar

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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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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