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    Author(s): S. Hummel; Frank Lake; A. Watts
    Date: 2015
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-912. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 9 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (3.61 MB)


    Sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of national forests and grasslands is the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. Yet managing these lands is challenging because people hold different expectations for them. Public uses can include:

    • Recreation (scenery, trails, bicycle and snowmobile routes)

    • Timber (structural, decorative, manufactured wood products) and wood-based energy (biomass)

    • Nontimber forest products (foods, fibers, medicines)

    • Sustaining or restoring natural processes (water, nutrient cycles)

    • Preserving cultural and natural history (archaeological or other sites)

    In mixed-conifer forests of the three Pacific coast states, some public uses may benefit from changes to the existing structure of living and dead trees arrayed on a site or in an area.

    Silviculture—a practice derived from the Latin word for forest—focuses on how to distribute the growing space for trees within an area. It is one method federal and other foresters use to manage land for desired beneficial uses.

    One way of deciding among silvicultural options for a specific place is by identifying forest conditions consistent with several management objectives. An accepted practice is using general structural and compositional knowledge of a given forest type and then supplementing or refining it with site-specific information. Scientific research generates knowledge that can be generalized and applied across similar conditions while site-specific information often comes from observations of a given place. In particular, the relationship people have to a place can offer insights into how it changes over a range of growing seasons and conditions. Such a two-tiered approach provides forest managers with flexibility within local ecological “sideboards.” By tailoring silviculture to a specific place, multiple objectives can be achieved over the long term.

    This booklet describes how knowledge gained from a tri-state study of good harvesting sites of a popular forest understory plant can contribute to local silvicultural decisions about tree density and levels of down wood.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Hummel, S.; Lake, F.K.; Watts, A. 2015. Using forest knowledge: how silviculture can benefit from ecological knowledge systems about beargrass harvesting sites. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-912. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 9 p.


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