Management Guides Target Red Oak and White Pine Regeneration in New England
- Science Theme:
- Sustaining Forests
- Science Topic
- Methods to conserve and enhance forest resources - Biodiversity and structural and functional complexity of forests
- Methods to conserve and enhance forest resources
- Forest resource monitoring and assessment
- Globalization impacts
- Science to support the National Fire and Fuels Strategy
- Understanding the ecological roles of natural disturbance
Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) are among the most highly valued tree species in New England, both for timber production and amenities for wildlife. Past landscape disturbances that allowed these species to flourish, such as wildfires or abandoned farm fields, have diminished, leading to a subsequent decline in both species’ ability to regenerate.
The historical events that resulted in the abundance of red oak and white pine can no longer be replicated because of how developed the northeastern United States has become and the patchwork of mixed land ownership. However, a collaboration of researchers from the Northern Research Station, other Federal and State agencies, and academic institutions has produced two management guides (one for each tree species) containing silvicultural methods that can mimic those disturbances and replicate their results.
The guides synthesize research specific to the New England region, as well as applicable science from neighboring areas. It also features new research demonstrating how thinning forests to lower densities (“low-density thinning”), particularly within white pine forests, can improve regeneration success.
“Ecology and Management of Northern Red Oak in New England” was published in 2017, while “White Pine Silviculture for Timber and Wildlife Habitat in New England” followed in 2020.
Management strategies contained within the publications include timing regeneration efforts with good seed crops, maintaining nearby high-producing seed trees, and minimizing wildlife impacts, such as disturbing surface soils to better bury pine seeds and acorns.
Researchers have provided demonstration tours, workshops, and virtual trainings through the Northeast Silviculture Institute to further promote their findings.
Leak, William B.; Yamasaki, Mariko; Bennett, Karen P.; Desmarais, Ken; Pohl, Peter; Costello, Christine; Munck, Isabel. 2020. White Pine Silviculture for Timber and Wildlife Habitat in New England. University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, Durham, NH. 34 p.
Leak, William B.; Yamasaki, Mariko; Ward, Jeff S.; Desmarais, Ken; Bennett, Karen P. 2017. Ecology and Management of Northern Red Oak in New England. University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, Durham, NH. 54 p.
Leak, William B.; Yamasaki, Mariko. 2013. Effects of low-density thinning in a declining white pine stand in Maine. Res. Note NRS-170. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 6 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RN-170.
- William Leak, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Forester
- Mariko Yamasaki, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Wildlife Biologist
- Karen Bennett, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, Forestry Professor and Extension Forester (emeritus)
- Christine Costello, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Wildlife Biologist
- Ken Desmarais, USDA Forest Service White Mountain National Forest, Assistant District Ranger
- Isabel Munck, USDA Forest Service Eastern Region State and Private Forestry, Forest Pathologist,
- Peter Pohl, extension forester (retired), University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
- Jeff Ward,Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Chief Scientist
- Last modified: December 9, 2020