Green tree retention, a practice based on ecosystem science, has been integrated into forest management as a working hypothesis, requiring research and monitoring to quantify its effects. We undertook a retrospective study of natural, two-aged forest stands on the Willamette National Forest to provide preliminary estimates of the effects of green tree retention on forest structure and yield. Fourteen stands in the western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) zone (mostly dominated by Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) were sampled using adjacent, paired plots: one with residual trees over a younger cohort (median age of younger cohort, 97 years) and one with only the younger cohort. The younger cohorts all had much higher densities of trees than typical of local Douglas-fir plantations. Basal area, volume, and mean annual increment (MAI) of the younger cohort all declined with increasing residual tree basal area. These relationships were best described by curvilinear models; the greatest effect per unit of residual tree basal area occurred at low residual tree levels (5-10 m2/ha). For 10 m2/ha residual tree basal area (equivalent to about 12 average (diameter at breast height 105 cm) residual trees per hectare), we predicted a 26% decline in younger cohort MAI (95% confidence interval: -30% to -22%).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change