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 following.

Action Category

Thin trees within forests: effects on understory plants

Action Link
Forest Conservation
  1. Thin trees within forests: effects on understory plants

    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.


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