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Making the little things count: modeling the development of understory trees in complex standsAuthor(s): Peter J. Gould; Connie Harrington
Source: In: Anderson, P.D.; Ronnenberg, K.L., eds. Density management in the 21st century: west side story. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-880. Portland, OR: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 59–70.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionForest growth models are useful for asking “What if?” questions when evaluating silvicultural treatments intended to increase the complexity of future stands. What if we thinned to level A or B? How would it aff ect the growth rates of understory trees? How many trees would survive? To answer these types of questions, a growth model needs to accurately predict the growth and survival of understory trees. Some users of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) growth model have commented that model predictions for understory trees do not match their fi eld observations or data. To study the relationships which govern growth of understory trees, we assembled a large database from silvicultural experiments and operational inventory data. Th is database provided an opportunity to look at the major factors that aff ect the growth and survival of understory Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata). Tree attributes like diameter and crown ratio were the best predictors of tree growth, followed by measures of stand density and competition. We found that the potential and average growth of all three species decreased as the density of larger trees increased, but the growth of Douglas-fi r was reduced the most by increasing overstory density. Similarly, competition with larger trees reduced the survival of Douglas-fi r more than the other species. Western Hemlock generally had greatest growth at moderate to high levels of overstory density. Survival of Western Redcedar was the highest of the three species. Overall, we found the eff ect of overstory density on understory tree growth was less, but the eff ects on mortality were greater, than predicted in earlier versions of FVS. Incorporating these new relationships into future versions of FVS should provide forest managers with better tools to evaluate alternative management scenarios.
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CitationGould, Peter J.; Harrington, Connie. 2013. Making the little things count: modeling the development of understory trees in complex stands. In: Anderson, P.D.; Ronnenberg, K.L., eds. Density management in the 21st century: west side story. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-880. Portland, OR: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 59–70.
KeywordsGrowth and yield models, Forest Vegetation Simulator, thinning, competition, underplanting, regeneration.
- Westside thinning and underplanting study in 50- to 55-year-old Douglas-fir and Douglas-fir/hemlock stands
- Residual densities affect growth of overstory trees and planted Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar: results from the first decade
- Midcanopy growth following thinning in young-growth conifer forests on the Olympic Peninsula, western Washington
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