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    Description

    This study evaluated the use of radial growth averaging as a technique of identifying canopy disturbances in a thinned 55-year-old mixed-oak stand in West Virginia. We used analysis of variance to determine the time interval (averaging period) and lag period (time between thinning and growth increase) that best captured the growth increase associated with different levels of crown release of Quercus prinus L. and Quercus rubra L. A lag of 3 years and an interval of 7 years yielded the best fit of percent growth change and percent crown release, respectively, for Q. prinus; for Q. rubra, the radial growth response did not differ significantly when lag and interval were varied from 1 to 3 and 6 to 15 years, respectively. The relationship between percent crown release and percent growth change was linear for both species. This method provides a suitable means of detecting canopy disturbances affecting overstory trees and is potentially applicable to other tree species. When combined with fire histories, these data can provide the basis for reconstructing long-term disturbance regimes. This estimate may also provide a framework for scheduling the rate of stand entry for silvicultural treatments (e.g., thinning) that is consistent with its historic stand development.

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    Citation

    Rentch, James S.; Fekedulegn, B. Desta; Miller, Gary W. 2002. Climate, canopy disturbance, and radial growth averaging in a second-growth mixed-oak forest in West Virginia, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32:915-927.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/14217