Comparison of structural and compositional characteristics in old-growth and mature, managed hardwood forests of Minnesota, USA

C. M. Hale, J. Pastor, K. A. Rusterholz

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73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Extended rotation of managed temperate hardwood forests is sometimes presumed to provide the important compositional and structural features of old-growth hardwood forests. However, the features of temperate hardwood old-growth and managed stands of extended rotation age have not been fully quantified and compared. This study compared quantitative parameters (density and volume of logs and Snags, coarse woody debris volume (volume of logs + volume of snags), the proportion of hollow logs, basal area and tree, sapling, large seedling and small seedling densities), distributional patterns (diameter class and rot class of live trees, decay class of logs), and vascular plant species composition and diversity in old-growth and mature, managed sugar maple (Acer saccharum L.) - basswood (Tilia americana L.) and northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) stands. Old-growth forests had higher coarse woody debris volumes and higher proportions of hollow logs, of live trees in large diameter classes, of logs in decay classes 1 and 2, and of live trees in rot classes 3-5 than the mature, managed forests. Old-growth and mature, managed forests did not differ significantly in plant species composition. These results indicate that, while older extended-rotation, managed stands can be very similar compositionally to old-growth forests, they differ quantitatively in structural features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1489
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

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