Silvicultural Methods for Improving Hardwood Management on Non-Industrial Private Forest land in Virginia
Matthews, Bonnie L. C.
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Hardwood management has been discouraged because of long rotations, low stumpage values, expensive treatments, and an undependable market (Bechtold and Phillips 1983). Knowledge gaps on how various biological factors affect hardwood growth also exist. Stand improvement methods attempt to shift growth to desirable stems. Three different hardwood stand improvement treatments were evaluated. A pre-commercial chemical thin occurred in a twelve year old stand in 1990. In 1995, two of the treatments showed a significant increase in dbh over the control. However, the 2004 measurements of the stand did not find any significant differences between treatments. A case study examined paired plots throughout the state of Virginia where the crown touching crop tree release method was applied. In both the Piedmont and Ridge and Valley regions of the state an increase in dbh was observed. Finally, a timber stand improvement study examined different treatments in a 60-80 year old stand, but did not result in any significant increases in volume after three years. When oaks are harvested or a major disturbance occurs, the number of oaks that regenerates is less than there were previously (Smith 1992). Therefore, oak regeneration is a problem and methods are needed to facilitate oak regeneration (Smith 1992). One method of oak regeneration was examined. Burning five years after a deferment cut did not result in significantly more stems of oak regeneration. Various reductions in basal area also did not result in an increase in oak regeneration under our 60-80 year old timber stand improvement study. These studies attempt to close knowledge gaps in hardwood management and provide useful information for non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners. It is so important to target NIPF landowners because the 350 million acres of timberland they own will play a large part in the future of the United States timber supply (Haynes 2002).
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