Oak Regeneration in the Southern Appalachians: Potential, Problems, and Possible Solutions

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Southern Journal of Applied Forestry






Society of American Foresters

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Despite the large volumes written about "oak regeneration problems" on mesic sites, very little has been presented on the extent of regional variation in oak regeneration. In this review article, we examine several important facets of oak regeneration for the Southern Appalachian region. We conclude that: (1) the amount of reproduction (seedlings and/or sprouts) is seldom a limiting factor because these oak forests have an average advance regeneration density of more than 9000/ha; (2) about 75% of all oak stems sprout after harvesting, which; (3) makes stump sprouts a major source of oak regeneration and a more important component than in the Midwest; (4) harvesting usually leads to an increase in the number of oak seedlings on a site (mean density for the first 3 yr equals 15,750/ha); (5) on sites of SI50 = 17-19m, oaks typically make up 25-40% of the canopy 2-3 decades after a harvest; (6) on sites of SI > 20m, clearcutting leads to very low levels (~10%) of oak representation in the subsequent forest, whereas a shelterwood harvest will result in 25-30% oak abundance; and (7) a harvest of an oak-dominated forest, without any other treatments, will lead to a 50-70% decline in oak...