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Field Note: Snow Damage Patterns in Maturing Mixed-Species Plantations of the Sierra Nevada

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Stem-snapping frequency and species differences were assessed in ∼30-year-old mid-elevation mixed-species plantations after a winter with above average, but not extreme, snowfall. Snapping (occurring between breast height and mid-crown) was not common (5/acre) but could be considered significant, depending on specific objectives and planning horizons. Black oak (Quercus kelloggii) snapped most often, especially compared with giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), which did not snap at all. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), white fir (Abies concolor), and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) did not snap in proportions greatly different than prestorm densities. Snapped conifers tended to have greater height/diameter ratios than nonsnapped trees, but diameter ratios in these maturing plantations were generally low, probably a product of previous thinning treatments. Stem snaps could diminish or enhance objectives for modern mixed species plantations, suggesting the need for further study.
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Keywords: height/diameter ratio; mid-elevation mixed conifer; snag development; snow damage; stem snap

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-10-01

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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 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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