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Individual Highlight

Keeping oak forests in oak

Photo of A technician stands in a thinned stand in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Ky.A technician stands in a thinned stand in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Ky.Snapshot : Maintaining oaks in southeastern forests is desirable for economic and ecological reasons. Forest managers face many challenges as oak forests grow older and oaks are replaced by other tree species. Specific management to favor sustaining oak in U.S. forests while providing economic and ecological benefits are showing promise in addressing these concerns.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Schweitzer, Callie 
Research Location : This research is located on lands owned and managed by forest industry (Coastal Timberlands, Stevenson Land Company) in Alabama and Tennessee, the State of Alabama, the William B. Bankhead National Forest in Alabama, and the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1329

Summary

In the southeastern U.S., there is heightened interest in managing and maintaining oaks in U.S. forests. Failure to regenerate oak forests and the replacement of oak by other species are current land management challenges. Forest Service scientists are testing management activities that provide a financial return to the landowner while creating conditions conducive to sustaining oaks. Called shelterwood prescriptions, these treatments allow for some partial disturbance, such as timber harvest, to a forest in phases over time. Not only do these partial disturbances create an environment that may give small oak seedlings an opportunity to grow into larger trees, it also provides diverse habitat for birds such as the yellow-breasted chat and select reptiles and amphibians. Working with industry, state, and national forest managers, Forest Service shelterwood studies across the Cumberland Plateau region allow agency scientists to demonstrate how different disturbance regimes influence the forest ecosystems on a variety of sites. The Forest Service continues to use its research sites as field training laboratories for university, government, and private groups interested in seeing results first hand. In addition, research results allow the Forest Service to adjust the forest treatments based on site characteristics or changes in other factors, such as drought or natural tree mortality events, leading to more efficient and successful management; and, most importantly, more oak!

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Daniel Boone National Forest
  • William B. Bankhead National Forest
  • Alabama A& M University
  • Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Coastal Timberlands
  • Mead Corporation
  • Stevenson Land Company
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Tennessee