Restoring complexity: second-growth forests and habitat diversity.Author(s): Valerie Rapp
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
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DescriptionOld-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.
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CitationRapp, 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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