FOREST STRUCTURE AND LIGHT REGIMES FOLLOWING MODERATE WIND STORMS: IMPLICATIONS FOR MULTI-COHORT MANAGEMENT

FOREST STRUCTURE AND LIGHT REGIMES FOLLOWING MODERATE WIND STORMS: IMPLICATIONS FOR MULTI-COHORT... Moderate-severity disturbances appear to be common throughout much of North America, but they have received relatively little detailed study compared to catastrophic disturbances and small gap dynamics. In this study, we examined the immediate impact of moderate-intensity wind storms on stand structure, opening sizes, and light regimes in three hemlock––hardwood forests of northeastern Wisconsin. These were compared to three stands managed by single-tree and group selection, the predominant forest management system for northern hardwoods in the region. Wind storms removed an average of 41%% of the stand basal area, compared to 27%% removed by uneven-aged harvests, but both disturbances removed trees from a wide range of size classes. The removal of nearly half of the large trees by wind in two old-growth stands caused partial retrogression to mature forest structure, which has been hypothesized to be a major disturbance pathway in the region. Wind storms resulted in residual stand conditions that were much more heterogeneous than in managed stands. Gap sizes ranged from less than 10 m 2 up to 5000 m 2 in wind-disturbed stands, whereas the largest opening observed in managed stands was only 200 m 2 . Wind-disturbed stands had, on average, double the available solar radiation at the forest floor compared to managed stands. Solar radiation levels were also more heterogeneous in wind-disturbed stands, with six times more variability at small scales (0.1225 ha) and 15 times more variability at the whole-stand level. Modification of uneven-aged management regimes to include occasional harvests of variable intensity and spatial pattern may help avoid the decline in species diversity that tends to occur after many decades of conventional uneven-aged management. At the same time, a multi-cohort system with these properties would retain a high degree of average crown cover, promote structural heterogeneity typical of old-growth forests, and maintain dominance by late-successional species. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Applications Ecological Society of America

FOREST STRUCTURE AND LIGHT REGIMES FOLLOWING MODERATE WIND STORMS: IMPLICATIONS FOR MULTI-COHORT MANAGEMENT

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Publisher
Ecological Society of America
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by the Ecological Society of America
Subject
Articles
ISSN
1051-0761
D.O.I.
10.1890/06-1067.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Moderate-severity disturbances appear to be common throughout much of North America, but they have received relatively little detailed study compared to catastrophic disturbances and small gap dynamics. In this study, we examined the immediate impact of moderate-intensity wind storms on stand structure, opening sizes, and light regimes in three hemlock––hardwood forests of northeastern Wisconsin. These were compared to three stands managed by single-tree and group selection, the predominant forest management system for northern hardwoods in the region. Wind storms removed an average of 41%% of the stand basal area, compared to 27%% removed by uneven-aged harvests, but both disturbances removed trees from a wide range of size classes. The removal of nearly half of the large trees by wind in two old-growth stands caused partial retrogression to mature forest structure, which has been hypothesized to be a major disturbance pathway in the region. Wind storms resulted in residual stand conditions that were much more heterogeneous than in managed stands. Gap sizes ranged from less than 10 m 2 up to 5000 m 2 in wind-disturbed stands, whereas the largest opening observed in managed stands was only 200 m 2 . Wind-disturbed stands had, on average, double the available solar radiation at the forest floor compared to managed stands. Solar radiation levels were also more heterogeneous in wind-disturbed stands, with six times more variability at small scales (0.1225 ha) and 15 times more variability at the whole-stand level. Modification of uneven-aged management regimes to include occasional harvests of variable intensity and spatial pattern may help avoid the decline in species diversity that tends to occur after many decades of conventional uneven-aged management. At the same time, a multi-cohort system with these properties would retain a high degree of average crown cover, promote structural heterogeneity typical of old-growth forests, and maintain dominance by late-successional species.

Journal

Ecological ApplicationsEcological Society of America

Published: Jul 1, 2007

Keywords: ecosystem management ; forest canopy gaps ; forest light regimes ; forest stand dynamics ; moderate-severity disturbance ; northern hardwoods ; old-growth forest ; stand development ; wind storm effects ; windthrow

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