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    Author(s): Kenneth J. Ruzicka; Klaus J. Puettmann; Deanna H. Olson
    Date: 2014
    Source: Forest Science
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.13 MB)


    We examined the potential of using upslope density management to influence growth and drought tolerance of trees in untreated downslope riparian forests. Increment cores from Douglas-fir trees in three mature stands in western Oregon, USA, were collected and measured. Trees responded to an apparent edge effect up to 15 m downslope of thinned areas but not downslope of gaps. Growth responses in riparian trees were not affected by slope or potential solar radiation (as a function of location and topography). In addition, in a retrospective analysis of tree growth and allocation patterns (represented by the ratio of earlywood to latewood) and climate after treatment over a 12-year period, trees in our study area did not appear to be water limited and did not show a strong correlation with regional drought metrics. We hypothesize that vegetation layers in these riparian forest stands responded differentially to additional resources becoming available as a result of thinning, with overstory trees in riparian areas responding downslope of thinned uplands and subdominant canopy layers responding downslope of gaps. Our study demonstrates that managers can affect riparian forests with upland treatments to a limited spatial extent, which may be the only option in areas where direct riparian management is restricted due to concerns for other ecosystem services.

    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.


    Ruzicka, Kenneth J., Jr.; Puettmann, Klaus J.; Olson, Deanna H. 2014. Management of riparian buffers: upslope thinning with downslope impacts. Forest Science. 60(5): 881-892.


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    riparian zone, thinning, drought, climate, western Oregon, riparian management

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