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Managing Douglas-fir forests for diversity
Date:5/8/2009

to 30 feet tall, in mixed stands that are low in productivity but may have the potential to provide cover and forage for a range of wildlife species.

  • Each of the stand structures had different potentials for habitat and for wood production.
  • Douglas-fir stand volume where all hardwoods were removed was about three times that where hardwoods were not removed, and these stands may provide wildlife cover for shade in summer and warmth in the winter.
  • The stands with hardwoods will provide hardwood seeds for wildlife food, and birds can use hardwood layers in the understory for nesting and foraging.
  • Douglas-fir mortality from black stain root disease was greater where all hardwoods were removed than where some hardwoods were retained. The disease is known to be spread during precommercial thinning operations because the fresh slash from thinning is colonized by insects, which carry the disease.
  • It is unknown how long these stand structures will persist given future competitive interactions; however, differences in Douglas-fir yield among the three stand structures are likely to remain stable or even increase as the taller-growing species continues to exert its dominance.

    "Managing stands with moderate hardwood densities enables a stratified structure to develop with conifers and hardwoods occupying dominant and intermediate canopy layers, respectively," explains Harrington. "Combining high hardwood densities with precommercial thinning of Douglas-fir creates a codominant stand structure with conifers and hardwoods occupying the same canopy layer. Managers may also want to retain some hardwoods in areas prone to black stain root disease, since the hardwoods may reduce mortality of planted Douglas-fir following thinning."


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  • Contact: Sherri Richardson Dodge
    srichardsondodge@fs.fed.us
    503-808-2137
    USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
    Source:Eurekalert

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