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    Author(s): Steven L. Garman; John H. Cissel; James H. Mayo
    Date: 2003
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-557. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 57 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (3.0 MB)


    The goal of this simulation study was to provide information for defining thinning regimes for young Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) stands in the Central Cascades Adaptive Management Area, located in west-central Oregon. Specifically, this study used the ZELIG.PNW (3.0) gap model to evaluate effects of experimental thinning treatments on the development of late-successional attributes and on extracted merchantable volume. Sixty-four thinning treatments were simulated for four rotation intervals (260, 180, 100, and 80 years) starting with a 40-year-old managed Douglas-fir stand. The amount of time for five late successional attributes to reach defined threshold levels, long-term developmental trends of these attributes, and amount of extracted merchantable volume were recorded for each treatment. Stand conditions of selected treatments were used in a subsequent harvest rotation in which 64 additional experimental thinning treatments were applied and evaluated. A total of 1,744 thinning treatments was evaluated in this study.

    Results of this study confirm previous recommendations for accelerating development of late-successional attributes in young managed stands. Additionally, results show the potential for a range of thinning treatments to attain late-successional conditions in about the same amount of time, but with different tradeoffs in terms of merchantable volume and long-term stand conditions. In general, heavy thinning of existing stands at ages 40 and 60 years promoted rapid development of large boles, vertical diversity, and tree-species diversity, but provided the least amount of extracted volume and required artificial creation of dead wood. Treatments that retained more than 40 percent of the original overstory and thinned to 99 trees per hectare at age 60 delayed attainment of late-successional conditions by 10 to 30 years but provided 12 to 20 percent more extracted volume, resulted in higher levels of most late-successional attributes at the end of a rotation, and required less artificial creation of dead wood. Treatments providing the fastest development of late-successional conditions in subsequent rotations varied with the amount of canopy cover retained at the end of the first rotation. For stands starting with 30 percent canopy cover, delaying the first commercial thin for 40 years promoted the most rapid development of vertical structure and shade tolerant stems. Lower canopy-retention levels required heavy or light thins in subsequent entries, depending on the rotation interval, for rapid development of late-successional attributes.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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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.


    Garman, Steven L.; Cissel, John H.; Mayo, James H. 2003. Accelerating development of late-successional conditions in young managed Douglas-fir stands: a simulation study. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-557. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 57 p


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    Forest management, alternative thinning strategies, late-successional development, simulation modeling

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