Composition of Oak Stands in the Illinois Ozark Hills 2 Decades following Light Harvesting and No Cutting
Light harvesting and no cutting are two common management regimes in oak-dominated forests in the Ozark Hills of southern Illinois. We compared changes in overstory stand composition between 1980 and 2000 among forest inventory plots that were lightly harvested after initial sampling and plots that were uncut during the same time period. Total white oak (
Quercus alba L.) basal area increased for both management regimes. Black oak ( Quercus velutina Lam.) overstory density decreased, and sugar maple ( Acer saccharum Marsh.) and American beech ( Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) density increased for both management regimes. Although overall density of oak was maintained by both management regimes, species and diameter class-specific response varied. Additional silvicultural activities may be necessary to sustain oak in both lightly harvested and uncut plots, with light harvesting providing opportunities to at least partially offset costs.
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