Uneven-aged management after a half-century of research on the Forest Service Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virgina
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In: Hayes, D.C.; Stout, S.L.; Crawford, R.H.; Hoover, A.P., eds. USDA Forest Service experimental forests and ranges research for the long term. New York, NY: 149-172.
Uneven-age management in forestry refers to a system of management that periodically selects individual trees or small groups of trees for harvest. In general, the concept of uneven-age management entails the sustained yield of forest products while maintaining continuous forest cover. In North America, interest in uneven-age management grew in the second half of the twentieth century after most of the old-growth forests had been harvested. In West Virginia, unevenage management and its surrogates have been studied intensively since 1948 at the Forest Service Fernow Experimental Forest. The Fernow Experimental Forest is located in the Allegheny Mountains of the Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest and has characteristics of both mixed-oak and northern hardwood forests, depending on site characteristics. In stands managed with the type of unevenage management known as "single-tree selection," only those species capable of developing in reduced sunlight conditions have thrived. Concerns that the increased dominance of these so-called shade-tolerant species would lead to lower productivity have not been validated. It appears that managing the stocking level, or the size and number of trees after harvesting, has helped to sustain higher than expected levels of wood production and carbon storage. Economically, unevenage-managed stands have produced periodic revenue that resulted in higher net present values than either clearcut or unharvested stands, and, unlike more exploitive procedures, did not deplete the residual stand value. Unexpected insights into forest ecology and management also were realized by carefully studying the response to treatments for more than a half century and the benefits of long-term forestry research are discussed.
KeywordsSingle; Tree selection; Diameter; Limit selection; Partial harvesting; Species diversity; Productivity; Mixed; Mesophytic; Long Term forest research
Schuler, Thomas M. 2014. Uneven-aged management after a half-century of research on the Forest Service Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virgina. In: Hayes, D.C.; Stout, S.L.; Crawford, R.H.; Hoover, A.P., eds. USDA Forest Service experimental forests and ranges research for the long term. New York, NY: 149-172. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1818-4_7.