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Crop tree growth response and quality after silvicultural rehabilitation of cutover stands

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Puhlick, Joshua J.; Kuehne, Christian ; Kenefic, Laura S.

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Canadian Journal of Forest Research


Rehabilitation of cutover stands is often a management objective of landowners who desire improved stand conditions and increased value from future harvest revenues. We evaluated crop tree growth response and quality following precommercial rehabilitation treatments in mixedwood stands degraded through repeated exploitive cutting in Maine, USA. Treatments included control (no rehabilitation), moderate rehabilitation (crop tree release), and intensive rehabilitation (crop tree release plus timber stand improvement). Paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere) crop tree diameter increments 0 to 9 years posttreatment were greater following rehabilitation than in the control. Diameter increment did not differ between intensities of rehabilitation for any species. For conifers in the lower strata, crop tree height growth and change in crown length were negatively correlated with basal area in larger trees. The occurrence of epicormic branches on paper birches was greater in the rehabilitation treatments than the control. However, most epicormic branches occurred above the height corresponding to the first sawlog. These findings indicate that rehabilitation of mixedwood stands with similar characteristics can result in improved growth of crop trees without jeopardizing the quality of the lower bole in paper birches.


crop tree release; timber stand improvement; commercial clearcut; epicormic branches; mixedwood


Puhlick, Joshua J.; Kuehne, Christian; Kenefic, Laura S. 2019. Crop tree growth response and quality after silvicultural rehabilitation of cutover stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 49(6): 670-679.

Last updated on: January 6, 2022