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Title: Stand Structure and Composition 32 Years after Precommercial Thinning Treatments in a Mixed Northern Conifer Stand in Central Maine
Author: Weiskittel, Aaron R.; Kenefic, Laura S.; Li, Rongxia; Brissette, John
Publication: Northern Journal of Applied Forestry. 28(2): 92-96.
Key Words: balsam fir, red spruce, crop tree release, Acadian Forest, Penobscot Experimental Forest
Abstract: The effects of four precommercial thinning (PCT) treatments on an even-aged northern conifer stand in Maine were investigated by examining stand structure and composition 32 years after treatment. Replicated treatments applied in 1976 included: (1) control (no PCT), (2) row thinning (rowthin; 5-ft-wide row removal with 3-ft-wide residual strips), (3) row thinning with crop tree release (rowthin+CTR; 5-ft-wide row removal with crop tree release at 8-ft intervals in 3-ft-wide residual strips), and (4) crop tree release (CTR; release of selected crop trees at 8?8-ft intervals). PCT plots had more large trees and fewer small trees than the control in 2008. There were no other significant differences between the rowthin and control. The rowthin+CTR and CTR treatments had lower total and hardwood basal area (BA) and higher merchantable conifer BA than the control. CTR also resulted in more red spruce (Picea rubens [Sarg.]) and less balsam fir (Abies balsamea [L.]) than the other treatments. Although stand structures for rowthin+CTR and CTR were similar, the percentage of spruce in CTR was greater. Although the less-intensive rowthin+CTR treatment may provide many of the same benefits as CTR, the latter would be the preferred treatment if increasing the spruce component of a stand is an objective. Overall, early thinning treatments were found to have long-term effects on key stand attributes, even more than 30 years after treatment in areas with mixed species composition and moderate site potential.
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