Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. John M. Lhotka

Abstract

Problems developing tall oak seedlings of high abundance have become a concern throughout many eastern hardwood forests. The decline in oak seedling recruitment into canopy positions is often attributed to the increasing abundance of shade tolerant midstory species, especially red maple (Acer rubrum L.). Studies have shown that increasing light to the understory by way of a midstory removal has the ability to favor oak seedlings over competitors. The majority of studies to date have examined northern red (Quercus rubra L.) and cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) on productive sites, but relatively little is known about the effects of midstory removal on white (Quercus alba L.) and black (Quercus velutina L.) oaks, which are valuable species commercially and for wildlife. This study tests the effect of a midstory removal on oak seedlings and red maples six years after treatment implementation. In addition to seedling growth, survival, and competitiveness, the study also illustrates the changes in canopy structure and light transmittance resulting from the midstory removal. Basal clipping response of white oak seedlings following six years under a midstory removal is also examined as a method for regenerating more vigorous oaks. Results from this study support implementation of midstory removal as a method for improving oak regeneration.

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