Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems

Oak Regeneration

[photo:] oak seedlings surround stand af mature oaks trees.Regenerating mature oak forests after harvest to become thrifty young stands with an oak component is a serious problem throughout the range of oak in the Northeast and Midwest. Large oak seedlings present before harvest are necessary for good regeneration. Small oak seedlings seldom grow to gain dominance in the new developing stands. Many factors can limit good regeneration including excessive deer herbivory, especially when combined with competition from overstory plants or ferns (“fern deserts”), and fires. 


Our research examines various silvicultural treatments such as partial overstory removal, herbicide application, fire, and deer exclusionary fencing before harvest to improve the stocking of large oak seedlings for regeneration after harvest. Research results leading to improved silvicultural methods and forest management are integrated into a decision support framework used by forest managers.