Regenerating Hardwood Forests: Managing Competing Plants, Deer, and Light
Posted: May 29, 2007
29 , 2007- For Immediate Release
Contact: Allyson Muth, Phone: 814-865-3208, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where do the trees in the forest come from? Most of Pennsylvania's forest trees are natural ; they just grew there on their own. Today, it is not easy to grow a forest. Competing plants, white-tailed deer, and poor harvesting planning make it difficult to grow a forest.
A new publication in the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Bulletin Series, Number 15: Regenerating Hardwood Forests: Managing Competing Plants, Deer, and Light will help forest owners and others understand natural forest regeneration challenges. It describes how understanding competition, deer and light can lead to successful forest regeneration and sustainable forestry.
In 1985, a comprehensive study conducted in Pennsylvania examined 85 randomly selected timber sales across the state. The study sought to determine if timber harvesting practices were affecting forest sustainability. Half of these harvests were found unsustainable because they failed to retain quality trees of desirable species, failed to establish adequate regeneration, or left too much shade to allow existing regeneration to develop. Sustainable forestry requires focusing on regenerating the forest with new naturally developing trees. Failing to establish adequate desirable regeneration today will not leave sustainable forests for future regenerations.
Most hardwood regeneration occurs naturally, that is, no one planted the trees. Many factors affect forest regeneration. To regenerate a hardwood forest naturally, the current forest must produce seedlings, stump sprouts, and root suckers that become the next forest following a harvest. To be successful, regeneration has to have the right conditions. This takes planning and time; it just does not happen.
Competing plants, deer browsing, and inadequate light are the most common reasons for failing to naturally regenerate a forest. Competing plants "rob" light that would normally drive tree seed germination and seedling growth. Most common competing plants found in Pennsylvania are ferns (e.g., hayscented, New York, and Bracken ferns), some grasses, mountain laurel, striped maple, beech sprouts, etc., that cast dense shade on the forest floor. Deer have food preferences and their selective browsing can greatly reduce many tree species and allow competing plants to gain dominance; changing light conditions on the forest floor. Controlling light is a challenge; it affects regeneration growth and can encourage competing plants. Leaving too much shade after a harvest can give competing plants an advantage, as they might grow better in lower light conditions.
Forest Stewardship Bulletin 15 provides more detail on obtaining successful forest regeneration. It describes actions forest landowners can take to control competition, deer, and light to ensure a regenerating forest for the future.
Call the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Program to request your free copy of Regenerating Hardwood Forests: Managing Competing Plants, Deer and Light. The publication is available as a pdf at http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/UH181.pdf.
The Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Program provides publications on a variety of topics related to woodland management for private landowners. For a list of free publications, call 1-800-235-WISE (toll-free), send e-mail to email@example.com , or write to: Forest Stewardship Program, Forest Resources Extension, The Pennsylvania State University, 320 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and USDA Forest Service, in partnership with the Penn State's Forest Resources Extension, sponsor the Forest Stewardship Program in Pennsylvania.
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