Stand development and population dynamics of curlleafmountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius Nutt.) woodlands in Utah’s Bear River Mountains

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Western Journal of Applied Forestry





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Curlleaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius Nutt.) is a little-studied woodland tree that occurs in pure stands throughout the Intermountain West. Stand development and population dynamics of this species are poorly understood, despite their relevance to management. We describe here the development of stand age structures and population dynamics of mahogany woodlands in northern Utah using tree ages and measurements representing five structurally diverse stands. Establishment periods in all stands lasted decades, and regeneration continued intermittently in the absence of stand-replacing disturbance, eventually creating multiaged structure. Height, crown size, and basal area varied among older mahogany, which may reflect more intense intraspecific competition or increased likelihood of crown damage in older stands. Mahogany woodland managers face significant challenges. It is difficult to characterize historic stand conditions using current age structures because aging mature trees is generally unfeasible. Furthermore, there is little precedent for regenerating mahogany using silvicultural methods. Results suggest that the biggest risk in regenerating mahogany woodlands is low seedling survival, leading to the prolonged absence of mature trees. Consequently, multiaged methods that retain mature trees are recommended.

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