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Origin of Small Understory Beech in New York Northern Hardwood Stands

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I sampled understory beech with heights that were 4 ft tall or less to determine their origin in 22 northern hardwood stands in New York. The proportion of seedling-origin beech ranged from 5 to 75% across sites. However, in 20 stands, the majority of beech (58–91%) with heights of 2–4 ft tall had a root sucker origin. Coupled with other information from published sources, findings suggest four possibilities about beech regeneration: (1) seed production and/or early seedling survival may have a clonal linkage, with some genotypes producing little viable seed, or with few seedlings surviving after germination; (2) a prevalence of root suckers among the taller understory beech suggests their higher potential for long-term survival and development and limited shifts in the genetic makeup of that species within a stand; (3) at some level of stocking, taller understory beech root suckers may interfere with survival and development of seedling regeneration; and (4) because the taller understory beech has a root sucker origin at most sites, root suckers may just develop more rapidly than seedlings.

Keywords: beech; beech regeneration; understory beech

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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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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