Development and Intermediate Treatments – Intermediate treatments, or
non-stand-replacing disturbances, create predictable changes in forest
conditions. We plan to strengthen our understanding of the effects of
intermediate treatments on wood production, wildlife habitat, herbaceous
plant communities, and carbon sequestration, and develop associated guidelines
and indicators of sustainability. Historically, intermediate treatments
in forested stands have been undertaken primarily for their contribution
to wood products objectives. We will continue to study the effects of
these treatments on wood production. But as our understanding of the
relationships between wildlife species and important habitat components
increases, we recognize that intermediate treatments may also be used
to promote specific kinds of wildlife habitat. Similarly, as we enhance
our understanding of the relationships among herbaceous plant species
and site and stand conditions, we may develop intermediate treatment
prescriptions to enhance the sustainability of herbaceous communities.
As we have accumulated data about songbird, small mammal, amphibian,
and herbaceous plant communities of Allegheny Plateau forests, we are
learning which stand and site characteristics are important to which
species. During the next five years, we hope to translate this understanding
into prescriptions to enhance these characteristics. Such prescriptions
might include release treatments for understory conifers, treatments
to reduce canopy closure or promote cover within the shrub layer. In
addition, we have the opportunity to enhance our understanding of how
changes in species composition, growth rate, and understory development
associated with different intermediate treatments may affects soil carbon
pools and overstory carbon sequestration rates. Preliminary results based
on large scale models suggest that these differences are quite small,
but we have the opportunity, with sufficient resources, to test these
results through direct study. We continue to learn about the relationships
between intermediate treatments and wood production, as well. Our work
on this problem will include these four tracks:
We will develop inventory and prescription tools to measure and
enhance habitat for wildlife and herbaceous plant species.
We will develop an inventory and computer-based expert system
to predict which songbird, small mammal, and amphibian species
will find optimum or satisfactory habitat conditions within specific
forest stands. We hope to develop similar predictive relationships
for herbaceous plant species. Existing data show that certain key
wildlife habitat components can be enhanced by silvicultural manipulation,
and that certain graminoid species appear to increase in the environment
created by herbicide-shelterwood or shelterwood-herbicide treatments.
We will integrate these results into the NED and SILVAH expert
systems, allowing forest and resource managers to improve habitat
for these species when consistent with management objectives.
Primary partners for this work include US Forest Service Research
Work Unit NE-4454 (Burlington, VT, the NED development team), the
Allegheny National Forest, and Kane Hardwoods, a Collins Company.
While we will conduct the primary work for this problem at the
stand scale, we will incorporate landscape influences in our research.
We will increase our understanding of early stand development
in Allegheny Plateau forests and its interaction with intermediate
We will use both current studies and long-term data sets
to learn more early stand development and explore the impacts
of precommercial treatments, including fertilization, crop
tree-thinning, and area-wide thinning. We will study the
wildlife and herbaceous plant communities of these forests
with and without silvicultural treatment, as well as the
wood production response to treatment.
Primary partners in this work at present include the
Allegheny National Forest, International Paper Company,
the State University of New York College of Environmental
Science and Forestry, and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.
We will conduct this research primarily at the research
plot and stand level.
We will develop and refine our understanding
of the effects of species composition on the
wood production responses to thinning in Allegheny
Previous results from long-term thinning
studies suggest that in stands with high
proportions of shade-tolerant species,
especially black cherry, wood production
is optimized at higher residual densities
than previously believed. We will continue
to monitor a recently installed study to
validate this observation.
Our partners in this work are Forest
Investment Associates, Inc. This research
will occur at the research plot and stand
rates and carbon
pools in Allegheny
at a finer