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Diameter-Limit Harvesting: Effects of Residual Trees on Regeneration Dynamics in Appalachian Hardwoods

Deluca, Travis, Fajvan, Mary Ann, Miller, Gary
Northern journal of applied forestry 2009 v.26 no.2 pp. 52
forest management, sustainable forestry, natural regeneration, crop residue management, stumps, forest trees, diameter, hardwood forests, Prunus serotina, Acer rubrum, Betula nigra, tree growth, shade tolerance, forest canopy, overstory, canopy gaps, light intensity, basal area, West Virginia
Ten-years after diameter-limit harvesting in an Appalachian hardwood stand, the height, dbh, and basal area of sapling regeneration was inversely related to the degree of “overtopping” of residual trees. Black cherry and red maple were the most abundant saplings with 416.5 ± 25.7 and 152.9 ± 16.8 stems per acre, respectively. Models of black cherry height and diameter showed significant negative relationships (P < 0.05) with residual tree basal area. In addition, height, diameter, and basal area of dominant and codominant black cherry and black birch saplings were inversely related to residual tree basal area (P < 0.05), as was the basal area of red maple saplings. Alternatively, red maple sapling diameter had a significant positive relationship (P < 0.05) with residual basal area, and height was not significantly affected. Findings suggest that overall stand conditions were most favorable for the development of shade-tolerant red maple, with shade-intolerant species developing well in open areas. However, the long-term development of black cherry may be jeopardized by side shade and canopy cover. Removal of residual trees and subsequent cleaning operations are recommended to increase growth rates of shade-intolerant sapling regeneration.