Comparing Reproduction Techniques for Longleaf Pine Forests
Longleaf pine forests are important ecosystems in the southeastern United States, with substantial emphasis recently placed on restoring and managing them for multiple resource values. Although the methods of even-aged management for longleaf pine are well known, techniques for its uneven-aged management are poorly understood and largely untested. By developing and evaluating new uneven-aged management approaches (e.g., the Pro-B method for selection silviculture), the number of options available to forest managers will increase, so that a broader range of resource values and interests can be accommodated when recovering and sustaining these unique ecosystems. Since 2004, Forest Service scientists have conducted a comparative analysis of uneven-aged and even-aged management techniques for sustaining longleaf pine forests. In addition to shelterwood (even-aged) methods, they are also testing the effectiveness of group selection and single-tree selection (uneven-aged) systems for regenerating longleaf pine on sites with contrasting environmental conditions (i.e., mesic uplands and hydric flatwoods). Initial findings indicate that understory plant diversity, longleaf pine regeneration and growth of residual overstory trees benefit from the shelterwood method and selection systems. However, when periodic prescribed fire is delayed, regrowth of shrubs (especially saw-palmetto) and hardwood tree species can impair longleaf pine regeneration and adversely affect stand development.
Forest Service Partners