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Title: The effect of silvicultural thinning on tree grade distributions of five hardwood species in West Virginia
Author: Miller, Gary W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Graves, Aaron T.; Baumgras, John E.
Publication: In: Sustaining natural resources on private lands in the central hardwood region, proceedings of the 29th annual hardwood symposium; 2001 May 16-19; French Lick, IN. Memphis, TN: National Hardwood Lumber Association: 39-48.
Abstract: It is well established that silvicultural thinning can increase tree growth and wood volume utilization in hardwoodstands, but the effects on tree quality and value are less clear. This study measured the effect of silvicultural thinning on tree grades over a period of 12 to 15 years for 803 black cherries (Prunus serotina, Ehrh.), 424 northern red oaks (Quercus rubra, L.), 180 red maples (Acer rubrum, L.), 235 trees in the white oak group (Q. spp.), and 494 yellow-poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera, L.). Grade distributions of trees >9.6 and > 12.6 in. diameter at breast height (DBH) for black cherry, northern red oak, and yellow-poplar improved after thinning due to the removal of lower quality trees and the increased growth and the retention of high-quality, large-diameter residual trees. Red maple and the white oaks showed no improvement after thinning due to poor overall initialquality. Trees grouped by species, quality, and growth categories did not exhibit a significant increase or decreasein grade due to thinning. However, black cherry and yellow-poplar appeared to increase in grade due to silvical properties such as early branch pruning and fewer epicormic branches. Analysis of grade distributions for groups of species did not produce the same results as analyzing individual species. Mixed-species datasets may obscure species-specific effects of thinning, and species composition may have an appreciable effect on test results.
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