Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Understory plant responses to uneven-aged forestry alternatives in northern hardwood-conifer forests

Published source details

Smith K.J., Keeton W.S., Twery M.J. & Tobi D.R. (2008) Understory plant responses to uneven-aged forestry alternatives in northern hardwood-conifer forests. Canadian journal of forest research, 38, 1303-1318


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Thin trees within forests: effects on understory plants Forest Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2000-2006 in temperate mixed forest in Vermont and New York, USA (Smith et al. 2008) found that thinning increased species richness, diversity and cover of understory plants. Changes in number of species/0.04 plot (control: -1; group: 0; single tree cutting: 4; complexity enhancement cut: 9) and cover (control: -5%; group cut: 2%; single tree cutting: -4%; complexity enhancement cut: 8%) were higher in complexity enhancement than control plots. Change in diversity was higher in complexity enhancement cuts (Shannon's index: 3) and single tree cutting (2) than control plots (-0.5). Eight control (unthinned), four single tree cutting (cutting in dispersed pattern, retaining 18.4 m2/ha basal area), four group cut (cutting in aggregated pattern, retaining 18.4 m2/ha basal area) and four complexity enhancement cuts (cutting trees to a target typical diameter distribution, retaining 34 m2/ha basal area) treatment units (2 ha) were established in 1999-2003. Data were collected three years after treatments in eight plots (0.04 ha) in each treatment unit.