Long-term spatial and structural dynamics in Acadian mixedwood stands managed under various silvicultural systems
- Saunders, Mike R.
- Wagner, Robert G.
University of Maine
Using inventory data from a long-term silviculture experiment in east-central Maine, spatial models were developed to analyze 28 years (1974–2002) of stand structural dynamics. Differences in spatial pattern, species mingling, height differentiation, and relative stand complexity index (rSCI) were compared among five treatments: commercial clear-cutting, fixed diameter-limit, 5 year single-tree selection, three-stage shelterwood (both with and without precommercial thinning), and unharvested natural areas. Regardless of treatment, regeneration events (whether induced by natural breakup of the overstory or by harvesting) increased aggregation in spatial pattern and reduced species mingling, more so in the commercial clearcut and fixed diameter-limit treatments where hardwood densities were highest. Regular spatial patterns were rare. Height differentiation values for individual trees and stand-level mean rSCI were generally highest in untreated natural areas and 5 year selection treatments, intermediate in commercial clearcut and fixed diameter-limit treatments, and lowest in three-stage shelterwood treatments. After a brief adjustment period, precommercial thinning in a shelterwood treated stand generally increased species mingling, height differentiation, and rSCI. Two untreated natural areas exhibited divergent pathways of structural development. Dynamics in uneven-aged selection treatments more closely resembled that of the untreated natural areas than did the shelterwood, commercial clearcut, or fixed diameter-limit treatments.
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