Developmental pathways following the harvest of oak-dominated stands

Peter J. Gould, Kim C. Steiner, James C. Finley, Marc E. McDill

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17 Scopus citations


The postharvest development of 90 formerly oak-dominated stands in Pennsylvania was examined to identify developmental pathways that led to a range of stand compositions and structures in the third decade after harvest. Operational data collected through the course of timber sale administration were used to quantify preharvest overstory composition and the distribution and composition of advance regeneration and regeneration 2 years after harvest. Stands were re-measured during their third decade of development. Based on their third-decade compositions, stands were grouped into four distinct classes. The development of each class was then traced by comparing preharvest overstory, advance regeneration, and postharvest regeneration compositions between classes. Stands in the OAK class maintained dominance by oaks throughout stand development, resulting in an average of 83.8% oak stocking in the third decade after harvest. Stands in the MIXED and RED MAPLE classes began with lower levels of advance oak regeneration and lost oak dominance relative to preharvest stand compositions. The MIXED class experienced recruitment of pioneer species after harvest, resulting in stands where black birch (Betula lenta L.) and other species are important components, despite being poorly represented as advance regeneration. The RED MAPLE class had abundant red maple (Acer rubrum L.) advance regeneration and lacked postharvest recruitment of oaks or pioneer species, leading to the development of red maple-dominated stands. Stands in the UNSTOCKED class suffered preharvest mortality and regeneration (primarily red maple) declined after harvest, resulting in regeneration failures. The four developmental pathways demonstrate the importance of specific stand conditions at the time of harvest and, to a lesser extent, just after harvest to future stand development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-90
Number of pages15
JournalForest Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling


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