Rooted in Research

Leaving It Messy: Using Tip-up Mounds to Promote Tree Species Diversity

Cover image for Research ReviewWhen a tree falls in the woods, should it be removed? In managed forests, common practices call for cleaning up and removing timber following a blowdown. But when Northern Research Station research forester Christel Kern sees the root mass of a fallen tree, she's more likely to see it as an opportunity. Her work is described in a 2019 Forest Ecology and Management article entitled Mounds Facilitate Regeneration of Light-Seeded and Browse-Sensitive Tree Species After Moderate-Severity Wind Disturbance.

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For more information contact

Andrea Brandon
Science Delivery Specialist
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station

Key Management Considerations

  • Moderate blowdown events that affect 30-60 percent of a forest stand’s tree canopy present an opportunity to facilitate regeneration of light-seeded species that might otherwise fail to regenerate due to deer browsing or other factors.
  • Leaving a portion of uprooted trees from a blowdown event unsalvaged and protected from heavy equipment traffic can maintain newly created mound features and their potentially unique regeneration niche.
  • Selection of reserved uprooted trees should include species with rot-resistant wood, such as eastern hemlock and other long-lived conifers, to provide decayed wood substrate for future tree regeneration that may depend on such germination sites.
  • Proximity to canopy gaps and seed trees, especially light-seeded species, is another consideration when selecting locations for reserved uprooted trees.

Last modified: 3/31/2021