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    Author(s): Valerie Rapp
    Date: 2002
    Source: Science Update. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. May (1): 1-12
    Publication Series: Science Update
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.0 MB)

    Description

    Old-growth forests supply many important values, including critical habitat for some wildlife species. These forests are most useful for some wildlife species when they exist in large blocks. But many areas dedicated to old-growth values on federal lands are fragmented by patches of second-growth forests planted after timber harvest. These second-growth forests are often dense stands of Douglas-fir with little structural diversity.

    When--and if--these conifer plantations develop the characteristics of old-growth forests, then large parts of the forested landscape will function as complex, old forests. Such complex forests would more likely support the full range of biodiversity associated with old-growth forests than would stands with simple structure.

    Recent research by scientists with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW) and by other scientists offers intriguing insights into the processes of forest development. These findings suggest that managers have options. One option is to let conifer plantations develop old-growth characteristics as a result of natural events over time. Another option is to thin stands in order to restore habitat diversity more quickly.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Rapp, Valerie. 2002. Restoring complexity: second-growth forests and habitat diversity. Science Update. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. May (1): 1-12

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