Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Christopher R. Webster; Yvette L. Dickinson; Julia I Burton; Lee E. Frelich; Michael A. Jenkins; Christel C. Kern; Patricia Raymond; Michael R. Saunders; Michael B. Walters; John L. Willis
    Date: 2018
    Source: Forest Ecology and Management
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (562.0 KB)

    Description

    Declines in the diversity of herbaceous and woody plant species in the understory of eastern North American hardwood forests are increasingly common. Forest managers are tasked with maintaining and/or promoting species diversity and resilience; however, the success of these efforts depends on a robust understanding of past and future system dynamics and identification and application of appropriate silvicultural interventions. We review how historical timber harvesting and land use, increases in deer population sizes, invasive species, and contemporary forest management practices interact to erode ecological memory and increase resilience debt of hardwood forests of eastern North America. The erosion of ecological memory and growing resilience debt in these forests pose significant challenges for forest managers because they alter the response of forests to management from the understory to overstory. Differences in how much ecological memory these systems retain, as well as the mosaic of interacting factors influencing contemporary dynamics, preclude a one size fits all management approach. That being said, our review has identified a host of common factors and pathways that can be manipulated. The approach we propose requires a more thoughtful understanding of the forest understory as the foundation upon which resilient systems are built. Which silvicultural levers will have the greatest utility clearly depend on the ecological context of the forest, and a willingness to experiment and adapt. We offer a conceptual model and recommendations for managers confronting novel plant communities and uncertain system dynamics.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • 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

    Webster, Christopher R.; Dickinson, Yvette L.; Burton, Julia I.; Frelich, Lee E.; Jenkins, Michael A.; Kern, Christel C.; Raymond, Patricia; Saunders, Michael R.; Walters, Michael B.; Willis, John L. 2018. Promoting and maintaining diversity in contemporary hardwood forests: Confronting contemporary drivers of change and the loss of ecological memory. Forest Ecology and Management. 421: 98-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.01.010.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Deer browse, Earthworms, Herbaceous layer, Invasive exotic species, Resiliency, Restoration, Silviculture

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/55848