Differential success of oak and red maple regeneration in oak and pine stands on intermediate-quality sites in northern Lower Michigan

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Forest Ecology and Management





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Red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) was the most abundant species in the overstory on intermediate-quality sites in north central Lower Michigan prior to the lumbering era of the late 1800s. Northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) stands that replaced portions of the presettlement pinery are maturing. However, these sites are not returning to the former species composition due to greater abundance of red maple (Acer rubrum L.) and white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and a lack of oak and red pine regeneration. Our primary objective was to compare the effects of pine and oak cover types on natural oak and red maple regeneration. We measured oak and red maple regeneration in 2001, 10 years after initial application of canopy cover and understory treatments in natural oak stands and red pine plantations on comparable sites. Oak shelterwoods harvested to 25% canopy cover contained significantly more oak seedlings (∼60 cm height) than all other treatments, a majority of which were located in understory treatment plots, where red maple regeneration was mechanically removed. In agreement with other research in oak-dominated stands, these results suggest that light shelterwoods with understory control may be the most viable means of recruiting oaks...