Mixedwood silviculture in North America: the science and art of managing for complex, multi-species temperate forests
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Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Temperate mixedwoods (hardwood–softwood mixtures) in central and eastern United States and Canada can be classified into two overarching categories: those with shade-tolerant softwoods maintained by light to moderate disturbances and those with shade-intolerant to mid-tolerant softwoods maintained by moderate to severe disturbances. The former includes red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.), balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), or eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.) in mixture with northern hardwood species; the latter includes pine (Pinus) – oak (Quercus) mixtures. Such forests have desirable socio-economic values, wildlife habitat potential, and (or) adaptive capacity, but management is challenging because one or more softwood species in each can be limited by depleted seed sources, narrow regeneration requirements, or poor competitive ability. Appropriate silvicultural systems vary among mixedwood compositions depending on shade tolerance and severity of disturbance associated with the limiting softwoods, site quality, and level of herbivory. Sustainability of mixedwood composition requires that stand structure and composition be managed at each entry to maintain vigorous trees of species with different growth rates and longevities and to encourage development of advance reproduction or seedproducing trees of desired species. Regardless of silvicultural system, maintaining seed sources of limiting softwoods, providing suitable germination substrates, and controlling competition are critical. Here, we describe commonalities among temperate mixedwoods in central and eastern North America and present a framework for managing them.
Keywordsmixed-species forests; deciduous–coniferous mixtures; silvicultural systems; tree regeneration; shade tolerance
Kenefic, Laura S.; Kabrick, John M.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Raymond, Patricia; Clark, Kenneth L.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Kern, Christel C.; Vickers, Lance A.; Dey, Daniel C.; Rogers, Nicole S. 2021. Mixedwood silviculture in North America: the science and art of managing for complex, multi-species temperate forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 51(7): 921-934. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2020-0410.