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Thirteen-Year Height and Diameter Growth of Douglas-Fir Seedlings under Alternative Regeneration Cuts in Pacific Northwest

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Interest in managing Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco) forests in the Pacific Northwest under silvicultural systems other than traditional clearcutting has prompted research on the efficacy of alternative systems for successful regeneration and sustained timber productivity of Douglas-fir. The College of Forestry Integrated Research Project, implemented by Oregon State University, was established to compare various ecosystem responses and public perceptions among treatments implemented under clearcutting, shelterwood-with-reserves, and group selection silvicultural systems. The objective of this analysis was to quantify the following three responses of planted Douglas-fir seedlings to initial regeneration cuts: cumulative 13-year height growth (H13yr; 1992‐2004), cumulative 13-year diameter growth (D13yr; 1992‐2004), and most recent 5-year height growth (ΔH5yr; 2000‐2004). Differences in variability of overstory density at the treatment level led to significant differences in the variance of understory growth responses. After accounting for heterogeneous variance, analysis of variance indicated significant treatment effects for all three responses. Treatment effects were explained by the decline in H13yr, D13yr, and ΔH5yr with increasing overstory competition as represented by basal area of residual trees immediately after harvesting (initial basal area). Predicted height:diameter ratio of Douglas-fir seedlings increased as IBA increased. Under regeneration methods that retain a portion of the overstory, a residual overstory with basal area <80 ft2/ac allows establishment, growth, and continued survival of Douglas-fir regeneration during the 13 years following harvest.

Keywords: clearcut with reserves; even-aged management; group selection; light availability; patch cut; residual density; shelterwood with reserves; uneven-aged management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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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 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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