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Difference in Radial Growth Response to Restoration Thinning and Burning Treatments Between Young and Old Ponderosa Pine in Arizona

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Thinning and burning treatments based on forest conditions present before Euro-American settlement have been proposed to improve growth of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in northern Arizona. We examined tree growth response to different levels of such treatments and compared growth response between old trees that established before Euro-American settlement (presettlement trees) and younger trees that established after Euro-American settlement (postsettlement trees). We made these comparisons for 3 years of posttreatment growth in northern Arizona stands subjected to four levels of thinning. Thinning treatments varied the number of postsettlement trees retained to replace dead presettlement trees. Thinning increased radial growth at breast height of postsettlement trees in all 3 years after treatment, and growth response was negatively correlated with posttreatment stand basal area. In contrast, growth of presettlement trees was not affected by thinning in most years, and there was no relationship between growth and posttreatment stand basal area. Application of the same thinning prescription to stands with different management history resulted in different posttreatment basal area and consequently different growth response to thinning for postsettlement trees. Our results show that growth of 80-year-old, postsettlement ponderosa pines is more responsive to restoration thinning than older presettlement trees, and provide guidelines for thinning levels needed to stimulate growth of presettlement trees. West. J. Appl. For. 20(1):36–43.

Keywords: Arizona; Pinus ponderosa; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; presettlement; radial growth; restoration; thinning; tree size

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Forestry The University of Montana 32 Campus Drive #0576Missoula MT 59812-0576 Phone: (406) 243-4487;, Fax: (406) 243-4845, Email: kjerstin.skov@umontana.edu 2: School of Forestry Northern Arizona University P.O. Box 15018 Flagstaff AZ 86011-5018 3: Department of Forest Science Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • 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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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