Post-windthrow salvage logging increases seedling and understory diversity with little impact on composition immediately after logging
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Salvage logging after forest disturbances is a controversial but common practice, yet it remains relatively poorly studied, particularly after windstorms within deciduous forests. Here, we present results from the first growing season following salvage logging on four gaps (3.5–6 ha) created by a 2012 tornado. While salvage logging shifted the distribution of stem heights to smaller sizes, it increased woody species seedling diversity by 33% and total plant richness and diversity by 20%. Salvaging did not alter or homogenize community composition. These short-term differences in richness and diversity were partly driven by a more even distribution of seedlings among species and increased species recruitment from the seed bank after salvaging. Overall, the initial impacts of salvage operations in a mixed deciduous forest redirected forest regeneration towards a more diverse community with a wider pool of species.
KeywordsWind disturbance; Salvage logging; Diversity; Composition; Deciduous forest
Slyder, Jacob B.; Wenzel, John W.; Royo, Alejandro A.; Spicer, Michelle Elise; Carson, Walter P. 2019. Post-windthrow salvage logging increases seedling and understory diversity with little impact on composition immediately after logging. New Forests. 62(3). 12 p. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-019-09740-x.