- To quantify existing structure and structural change in a series of remeasured late-successional and old-growth forest plots from northern Maine, USA, with a focus on stocking levels, diameter distribution, and structural legacies including large live trees and standing and downed dead wood.
- To put these intensively studied plots in a regional context (encompassing northern New England and New York), by examining the abundance, development, and harvesting patterns of late-successional and old-growth plots from the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program.
- To suggest both silvicultural strategies and policy directions to enhance the prospect for the restoration of late-successional and old-growth structures in forests of the northeastern United States.
2. Experimental Section
2.1. Intensive Plot Data and Analysis
2.2. Regional Analysis
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Intensive Study Plots
|Stand Type||Period||Basal Area, m2/ha||Trees/ha||QMD, cm||SWARD|
|Large Live Trees||Large Standing Dead||Large Downed Dead|
|Stand Type||Period||Trees/ha||Basal Area||Trees/ha||Basal Area||Pieces/ha||Volume|
|LS||Initial||29.6 ± 8.2||5.4 ± 1.6||1.7 ± 1.2||0.3 ± 0.2||7.3 ± 1.7||12.1 ± 3.3|
|2011||38.3 ± 9.1||6.8 ± 1.8||3.5 ± 2.0||0.6 ± 0.3||7.6 ± 1.6||11.5 ± 4.1|
|OG||Initial||66.3 ± 6.1||13.7 ± 1.4||4.0 ± 1.6||0.8 ± 0.3||-||-|
|2011||72.6 ± 5.9||15.3 ± 1.3||2.3 ± 1.4||0.5 ± 0.3||10.7 ± 2.0||18.0 ± 3.4|
3.2. Regional Analysis
|Ownership||Protection||Harvested||Initial Age||n||QMD (cm)||Large Live Trees/ha||Large Standing Dead/ha||SWARD|
|Private||Unprotected||No||<100||2127 (1505)||18.5 ± 0.1||0.20 ± 0.06||16.5 ± 0.5||3.1 ± 0.2||2.2 ± 0.2||−0.27 ± 0.14||0.54 ± 0.01||0.061 ± 0.002|
|100+||139 (97)||21.6 ± 0.4||−0.21 ± 0.20||32.1 ± 2.8||5.0 ± 0.9||5.4 ± 1.1||−1.06 ± 0.86||0.68 ± 0.02||0.037 ± 0.005|
|Yes||<100||406 (285)||19.6 ± 0.2||−0.87 ± 0.23||20.4 ± 1.3||−5.2 ± 0.9||2.2 ± 0.4||−0.68 ± 0.29||0.63 ± 0.01||−0.165 ± 0.010|
|100+||35 (23)||22.7 ± 0.8||−2.73 ± 1.00||31.0 ± 6.0||−12.1 ± 3.4||5.2 ± 2.0||−0.86 ± 1.64||0.63 ± 0.04||−0.208 ± 0.032|
|All||<100||2533 (1790)||18.7 ± 0.1||0.03 ± 0.07||17.1 ± 0.5||1.7 ± 0.2||2.2 ± 0.2||−0.34 ± 0.12||0.56 ± 0.01||0.025 ± 0.003|
|100+||174 (120)||21.9 ± 0.4||−0.71 ± 0.27||31.9 ± 2.5||1.6 ± 1.1||5.3 ± 0.9||−1.02 ± 0.76||0.67 ± 0.02||−0.012 ± 0.011|
|All||2707 (1910)||18.9 ± 0.1||−0.02 ± 0.06||18.0 ± 0.5||1.7 ± 0.2||2.4 ± 0.2||−0.38 ± 0.13||0.56 ± 0.01||0.023 ± 0.003|
|Protected||No (All)||<100||174 (103)||20.7 ± 0.4||0.05 ± 0.17||33.3 ± 2.4||3.0 ± 0.8||7.7 ± 1.3||−1.84 ± 0.72||0.71 ± 0.02||0.018 ± 0.006|
|100+||60 (41)||25.9 ± 0.7||−0.63 ± 0.36||63.7 ± 4.8||3.8 ± 1.6||15.2 ± 2.5||−0.38 ± 1.54||0.72 ± 0.02||0.029 ± 0.009|
|All||234 (144)||22.1 ± 0.4||−0.12 ± 0.16||41.1 ± 2.3||3.2 ± 0.7||9.8 ± 1.2||−1.42 ± 0.68||0.71 ± 0.01||0.021 ± 0.005|
|Public||Unprotected||No||<100||262 (187)||19.1 ± 0.4||0.29 ± 0.21||20.8 ± 1.9||3.4 ± 0.6||2.7 ± 0.6||0.49 ± 0.38||0.58 ± 0.02||0.054 ± 0.005|
|100+||14 (9)||22.5 ± 1.0||0.14 ± 0.66||44.6 ± 10.5||4.3 ± 2.9||1.7 ± 1.7||0.00 ± 0.00||0.74 ± 0.07||0.026 ± 0.016|
|Yes||<100||40 (30)||20.2 ± 0.8||−0.56 ± 0.56||27.5 ± 4.3||−9.3 ± 3.2||3.0 ± 1.1||2.56 ± 1.44||0.62 ± 0.03||−0.105 ± 0.027|
|100+||2 (2)||22.3 ± 0.2||0.73 ± 6.82||37.2 ± 7.4||−19.2 ± 19.2||0.0 ± 0.0||0.00 ± 0.00||0.68 ± 0.08||−0.533 ± 0.150|
|All||<100||302 (217)||19.3 ± 0.4||0.18 ± 0.20||21.7 ± 1.7||1.7 ± 0.7||2.7 ± 0.5||0.78 ± 0.39||0.58 ± 0.02||0.033 ± 0.006|
|100+||16 (11)||22.4 ± 0.9||0.21 ± 0.85||43.7 ± 9.2||1.3 ± 3.7||1.4 ± 1.4||0.00 ± 0.00||0.73 ± 0.06||−0.044 ± 0.052|
|All||318 (228)||19.4 ± 0.4||0.18 ± 0.19||22.8 ± 1.7||1.7 ± 0.7||2.7 ± 0.5||0.74 ± 0.37||0.59 ± 0.02||0.029 ± 0.007|
|Protected||No (All)||<100||19 (12)||19.7 ± 1.0||0.26 ± 0.39||32.9 ± 7.6||4.0 ± 1.9||7.4 ± 5.0||−1.99 ± 3.53||0.67 ± 0.06||0.036 ± 0.016|
|100+||11 (8)||23.2 ± 1.4||0.64 ± 0.82||54.1 ± 10.8||7.7 ± 4.6||14.9 ± 8.9||0.22 ± 2.55||0.71 ± 0.06||0.016 ± 0.022|
|All||30 (20)||21.0 ± 0.9||0.40 ± 0.38||40.6 ± 6.4||5.4 ± 2.0||10.4 ± 4.6||−1.11 ± 2.31||0.68 ± 0.04||0.029 ± 0.013|
|All||All||All||<100||3028 (2122)||18.9 ± 0.1||0.05 ± 0.06||18.6 ± 0.5||1.8 ± 0.2||2.5 ± 0.2||−0.31 ± 0.12||0.57 ± 0.01||0.026 ± 0.003|
|100+||261 (180)||22.9 ± 0.3||−0.58 ± 0.21||40.9 ± 2.3||2.3 ± 0.9||7.8 ± 1.0||−0.76 ± 0.63||0.69 ± 0.01||−0.003 ± 0.008|
|All||3289 (2302)||19.2 ± 0.1||−0.00 ± 0.06||20.4 ± 0.5||1.9 ± 0.2||2.9 ± 0.2||−0.34 ± 0.12||0.58 ± 0.01||0.023 ± 0.002|
3.3. Silvicultural Implications
3.4. Policy Implications
|Certification System Standards|
|SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative 2010–2014 Standard)||ATFS (2010–2015 Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification)||FSC (FSC-US Forest Management Standard v1.0, approved 8 July 2010)|
|Does the standard require retention of forest structural attributes typical of LSOG forests (e.g., large live and dead standing trees)?||Yes||No||Yes|
|Does the standard require conservation of LS forest?||No||No||Yes|
|Criteria relevant to conservation of LS stands and forest structure||Objective 4: Conservation of Biological Diversity including|
Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value.
Performance Indicator 4.1: Program Participants shall have programs to promote biological diversity at stand- and landscape-levels.
Indicator 4: Development and implementation of criteria, as guided by regionally appropriate best scientific information, to retain stand-level wildlife habitat elements such as snags, stumps, mast trees, down woody debris, den trees and nest trees.
Indicator 5: Program for assessment, conducted either individually or collaboratively, of forest cover types, age or size classes, and habitats at the individual ownership level and, where credible data are available, across the landscape, and take into account findings in planning and management activities.
|None Applicable||Indicator 6.3.a.1: The forest owner or manager maintains, enhances, and/or restores under-represented successional stages in the FMU [Forest Management Unit] that would naturally occur on the types of sites found on the FMU. Where old growth of different community types that would naturally occur on the forest are under-represented in the landscape relative to natural conditions, a portion of the forest is managed to enhance and/or restore old growth characteristics.|
Indicator 6.3.f Management maintains, enhances, or restores habitat components and associated stand structures, in abundance and distribution that could be expected from naturally occurring processes. These components include:
(a) large live trees, live trees with decay or declining health, snags, and well-distributed coarse down and dead woody material. Legacy trees where present are not harvested; and
(b) vertical and horizontal complexity.
Trees selected for retention are generally representative of the dominant species naturally found on the site.
|Does the standard address old growth forest conservation?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Does the standard require protection of existing OG forest?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Criteria relevant to conservation and protection of existing OG forest||Objective 4, Performance Indicator 4.1:|
Indicator 6: Support of and participation in plans or programs for the conservation of old-growth forests in the region of ownership.
|Indicator 7.1.1: Forest owner must make a reasonable effort to locate and protect special sites appropriate for the size of the forest and the scale and intensity of forest management activities. [Special sites include “relic old growth”].||Indicator 6.3.a.3: When they are present, management maintains the area, structure, composition, and processes of all Type 1 [three acres or more that have never been logged and that display old-growth characteristics] and Type 2 [20 acres that have been logged, but which retain significant old-growth structure and functions] old growth. Types 1 and 2 old growth are also protected and buffered as necessary with conservation zones, unless an alternative plan is developed that provides greater overall protection of old growth values.|
C6.4 Representative samples of existing ecosystems within the landscape shall be protected in their natural state and recorded on maps, appropriate to the scale and intensity of operations and the uniqueness of the affected resources.
Intent: Representative Sample Areas (RSAs) are ecologically viable representative samples designated to serve one or more of three purposes:
(1) To establish and/or maintain an ecological reference condition; or
(2) To create or maintain an under-represented ecological condition (i.e., includes samples of successional phases, forest types, ecosystems, and/or ecological communities); or
(3) To serve as a set of protected areas or refugia for species, communities and community types not captured in other Criteria of this Standard (e.g., to prevent common ecosystems or components from becoming rare).
Indicator 9.1.a: The forest owner or manager identifies and maps the presence of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) within the FMU and, to the extent that data are available, adjacent to their FMU, in a manner consistent with the assessment process, definitions, data sources, and other guidance described in Appendix F.
Given the relative rarity of old growth forests in the contiguous United States, these areas are normally designated as HCVF, and all old growth must be managed in conformance with Indicator 6.3.a.3 and requirements for legacy trees in Indicator 6.3.f.
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