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Research Reveals Age-based Lessons from Decades of Uneven-aged Harvests

Photo of More than 70 years of uneven-aged silviculture practices in the Farm Forestry Forties of the Crossett Experimental Forest in Arkansas have produced a complex stand with many different age classes capable of responding differently to subtle variations in harvest treatments. USDA Forest ServiceMore than 70 years of uneven-aged silviculture practices in the Farm Forestry Forties of the Crossett Experimental Forest in Arkansas have produced a complex stand with many different age classes capable of responding differently to subtle variations in harvest treatments. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Seventy-two years of uneven-aged silviculture has had a profound influence on the development of two pine-dominated stands on the Crossett Experimental Forest in Arkansas. Examination of the age structure of these stands led scientists to a better understanding of the structure and function of multi-aged forests and to suggestions for a range of management options.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Bragg, Don C. 
Research Location : Crossett Experimental Forest, Arkansas
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 931

Summary

The Good and Poor Farm Forestry Forties, a demonstration of stands of trees on the Crossett Experimental Forest in Arkansas, have been used for various research and demonstration purposes for more than 70 years, yet no formal studies of their age structure had ever been conducted. The overstory pines of the Farm Forestry Forties are of multiple ages, from just a few years old to nearly a century old. Not surprisingly, events that affected these stands decades ago (such as the temporary closure of the Crossett Experimental Forest in the 1970s) are still reflected in their age class structure. After decades of harvesting, only a small fraction (about 6 percent in 2009 and even less today) of the overstory pines predate uneven-aged silviculture in this stand. Furthermore, a comparison of pine diameter with age displayed a remarkable degree of variability, with trees of the same diameter sometimes being several decades different in age. Understanding the age structure of forests helps managers better anticipate how harvesting activities can influence stand development. For instance, managers can emphasize timber production by focusing on harvesting slower growing pines and encouraging the more robust individuals, or they can emphasize certain wildlife habitats by retaining old, slow-growing pines.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • University of Arkansas

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