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Forests 2011, 2(4), 984-992; doi:10.3390/f2040984

Understory Light Conditions Associated with Partial Overstory Removal and Midstory/Understory Control Applications in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest

1
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, 2301 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72203, USA
2
Tennessee Division of Forestry, 500 Firetower Road, Dickson, TN 37055, USA
3
Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University, Box 9681, Mississippi State, MS 39765, USA
4
Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, University of Tennessee, 425 Plant Biotech. Bldg, Knoxville, TN 37996-4563, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 October 2011 / Revised: 5 November 2011 / Accepted: 10 November 2011 / Published: 17 November 2011
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Abstract

Changes in understory light levels following a partial overstory harvest with three retention levels, combined with midstory/understory removal of selected species were examined. Overstory retention levels were set at basal areas (ba) 16.1 (BA16), 11.6 (BA11), and 6.9 (BA6) m2 per hectare (ha). Prior to mechanical overstory removal, non-oak unmerchantable midstory/understory stems ≥ 5.1 cm were injected with an aqueous herbicide solution. Hemispherical photographs were used to calculate percent canopy closure and total understory light at 1.4 m above ground. Percent canopy closure was reduced 3, 14, 24, and 30 percent for injection only (IO), BA16, BA11, and BA6, respectfully, compared to the non-harvest control (NHC) (~95 percent canopy closure). Understory light levels for NHC, IO, BA16, BA11, and BA6 were 7–9 percent, 11–14 percent, 24–28percent, 37–46 percent, and 44–52 percent of full sunlight, respectively. Post-harvest understory light of BA16 was significantly lower than BA11 and BA6, which were similar. Understanding partial harvest impacts on canopy closure and subsequent understory light conditions will aid forest managers with regeneration harvest planning to promote oak reproduction.
Keywords: canopy closure; sunlight; solar irradiance; midstory/understory control; herbicide injection; partial overstory removal; hemispherical photography; hardwood; Quercus; oak; regeneration; bottomland canopy closure; sunlight; solar irradiance; midstory/understory control; herbicide injection; partial overstory removal; hemispherical photography; hardwood; Quercus; oak; regeneration; bottomland
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cunningham, K.K.; Peairs, S.E.; Ezell, A.W.; Belli, K.L.; Hodges, J.D. Understory Light Conditions Associated with Partial Overstory Removal and Midstory/Understory Control Applications in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest. Forests 2011, 2, 984-992.

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