Structural variability in natural Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco) forests hinders restoration targets for the full old-growth developmental sequence. To guide stage-specific restoration, we present a new approach toward developing a simple index of the vertical diversification (VD) stage. VD-associated sub-stand structures were objectively identified by quantifying the size structures of live trees across a developmental sequence of 10 pristine stands in the Oregon Cascades, USA. Floating neighborhoods were used to delineate natural tree neighborhoods based on triangulated irregular networks in five concentric rings of ever-greater spatial extent (averaging 60-2060 m2). Diameter distributions summarized the most frequently encountered tree size structures among neighborhoods, with increasing deviation from the neutral multi-variate core. Of 18 observed diameter distribution types (DDTs), the core DDT characterized all-sized tree neighborhoods reflective of vertical diversification, which was most abundant in early old-growth (VD) stands and least abundant at the extremes of the sequence. VD declined in older stands, whose more distinct DDTs had peaks in larger trees and multiple size classes, likely reflecting horizontal diversification (HD). This new approach illustrates that structural restoration of VD stands could be facilitated by the single-tree selection method, while that of HD stands may be promoted with both single-tree and group selection as well as targeted release.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change