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Thinning Increases Forage Production in Southern Appalachian Cove Hardwoods

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Understory response was studied for six years after thinning cove hardwood stands in the mountains of western North Carolina and northern Georgia. Understory vegetation increased from an average 294 lb/acre before thinning to 512 lb/acre the first year after thinning. Average peak production of 692 lb/acre was reached in the third year, more than twice the prethinning production and began to decline in the fourth year. Both the level and duration of the increase were related to degree of thinning. The increased production included a variety of woody and herbaceous vegetation known to be heavily utilized by both deer and grouse. The thinnings resulted in significant, if temporary, improvement in habitat for these and perhaps other species.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Project Leader, Stand Development, Composition, and Growth of Southern Appalachian Hardwoods, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Asheville, North Carolina

Publication date: 1983-02-01

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