Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Linda M. Nagel

Committee Member 1

Janice M. Glime

Committee Member 2

Robert E. Froese

Committee Member 3

Christopher R. Webster

Abstract

Northern hardwood management reflects a combination of historic exploitation, current efforts for sustainability, and a desired future condition that incorporates complexity, resiliency, and adaptability. Stand structure and species diversity were assessed at two study locations within Michigan (USA): (1) long-term northern hardwood cutting trials at the Ford Forestry Center (FFC; Michigan Technological University, USA); and (2) vernal pool habitat within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (PRNL). Following the fifth cutting entry at the FFC, age structure and pre- and post-harvest relative species abundance, stocking, and volume were compared across three diameter-limit treatments, three residual basal area treatments, and an uncut control. Results from 52 years of northern hardwood management indicate that all FFC treatments increased the dominant species, Acer saccharum (Marsh.), at a faster rate than the uncut control; cumulative harvested volume was partially dependent upon the initial 1957 harvest; management maintained or strengthened age-diameter linear relationships; and all treatments indicate a lack of recruitment within the past 52 years, indicating a reliance on stocking from trees prior to a region-wide 1938 high-grade. Within PRNL, vernal pool survey techniques, hydrogeomorphic classification systems, and a proposed habitat management guide were evaluated. Results suggest there are at last five subclasses of vernal pools, though nearly three-quarters were associated with just three soil series and the northern hardwoods cover type. Additionally, Nested-ANOVA and NMDS ordination indicate under-represented tree species’ importance values increased closer to the vernal pool, while tree diversity and richness were positively correlated with vernal pool area. In summary, while the FFC cutting trials indicate that stand legacy and subsequent management may create a less-diverse and simplified forest structure, vernal pools may act as refugia for under-represented species and provide an opportunity to maintain and enhance ecosystem complexity and resiliency for northern hardwoods.

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