- Starkey, Dale A.
USDA--Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station, Pineville, LA
- Oak, Steven W.
USDA-Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station, Asheville, NC
Recent surveys of southern upland hardwood forests have revealed widespread oak decline and mortality that is highly variable in severity. Several site and stand factors were found associated with greater mortality but relationships were not always clear. Decline and mortality were associated with older, sawtimber-sized stands. Red oak species (especially black and scarlet oaks) were most often damaged; highest mortality levels were associated with (but not limited to) ridge or upper slope topographic positions shallow , rocky soils and low to average site indices (<=70). A general classification of mortality risk can be accomplished by examination of the factors mentioned above, and others like drought and defoliation history, Preventive or remedial silvicultural treatments may be useful for reducing the effects of oak decline, and management objectives may need to be modified to avoid its consequences. These may include thinning early in stand history to reduce future competition-induced stress and to favor less susceptible species; reducing rotation age; regenerating other species and the control of defoliating insects.