Source: UNIVERSITY OF MAINE submitted to
EFFECTS OF GAP HARVESTING, COMMERCIAL THINNING, AND SILVICULTURAL INTENSITY ON STAND DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0223650
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
ME0-M-8-00484-11
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2010
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2015
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Wagner, R. G.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF MAINE
(N/A)
ORONO,ME 04469
Performing Department
School of Forest Resources
Non Technical Summary
The widespread application of partial cutting practices over the past two decades has shaped the Maine forest in ways we have never seen before. We also currently have a limited ability to not only define and understand the nature of this harvesting, but more importantly, understand how the future species composition, structure, and productivity of the forest will be affected by it. In order to predict future wood supplies, future wildlife habitat conditions, and responses of the forest to a changing climate, we need to better understand how harvesting and other silvicultural manipulations affect future stand conditions in the Acadian Forest. Accurate projections, however, can only occur by greatly improving our forest simulation models, and these models can only be improved by having long-term data from controlled experiments quantifying how forests regenerate and grow following harvest disturbances of various kinds. The objective of this project is to address several key dimensions of this problem. There is no forest resource issue more pressing for the state of Maine than those described above.
Animal Health Component
80%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
20%
Applied
80%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
12306101070100%
Goals / Objectives
1) Using the Acadian Forest Research Program (AFERP) experiment on the Penobscot Experimental Forest, we will continue to quantify how expanding-gap harvest treatments influence long-term stand development and forest ecosystems. 2) Using the CFRU Commercial Thinning Research Network (CTRN) research sites across the state of Maine, we will examine how various methods of commercial thinning in spruce-fir stands influence their future growth and development. 3) Using a controlled experiment established on the Penobscot Experimental Forest during in 2003-04, we will quantify how silvicultural intensity and species composition objectives influence early stand dynamics, growth & yield, and carbon balance. Key outcomes include: - Increased knowledge about how stand growth, productivity, and dynamics are affected by silvicultural intensity and tree species composition. - Increased knowledge about how various methods of commercial thinning in spruce-fir stands influence their future growth and development. - Increased knowledge about how expanding-gap harvest treatments influence long-term stand development and forest ecosystems. - Increased knowledge about how current forest simulation models do not accurately project future stand conditions after various kinds of silvicultural inputs.
Project Methods
To quantify how expanding-gap harvest treatments influence long-term stand development and forest ecosystems, we will use experimental plots that are part of the long-term experiment of the Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program (AFERP) at the University of Maine. Using the inventory data collected over the past decade, we will quantify the compositional and structural development of stands that have developed after the second set of gap expansions. Building on the recent results of Saunders and Wagner (2008) and Olson (2009) on spatial patterns of stand development and regeneration on AFERP plots and an adjacent long-term USFS study, we will quantify the compositional and structural changes that have occurred so far, as well as model the horizontal and vertical structural diversity that is emerging as a result of the implementing the expanding-gap treatments. The Commercial Thinning Research Network (CTRN) consists of two long-term studies that are tracking the effect of CT on the growth and development of spruce-fir stands on a dozen sites across northern and western Maine. The first study was established in mature balsam fir stands on six sites that had previously received PCT and is quantifying the growth and yield responses from the timing of first commercial thinning (i.e., now, delay five years, and delay 10 years) and level of residual relative density (33% and 50% relative density reduction). The second study, also established on six sites, was installed in mature spruce-fir stands without previous PCT (No-PCT) to quantify the growth and yield response from commercial thinning methods (i.e., low, crown, and dominant) and level of residual relative density (33% and 50% relative density reduction). We will build on the preliminary analysis using the 7th-yr data to document the detailed stand development that has occurred since thinning. Of particular interest are the patterns of tree mortality under the different thinning regimes in the No-PCT experiment. We will model future post-thinning stand development, conduct financial comparisons of CT treatments, and assist with improvements of the FVS-NE model around better predictions of thinned stands. During 2003 and 2004, we established a silvicultural intensities experiment in an 8-yr-old naturally regenerated stand on the Penobscot Experimental Forest. The study includes a 3 x 3 factorial experiment with three levels of silvicultural intensity (low, medium, high) and three compositional objectives (conifer, mixedwood, hardwood) plus an untreated control (10 treatments total). Funding to measure the 6th through 8th year growth response of study plots from 2010 until 2012, as well as model stand growth, was recently obtained from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative (Theme 3). Funding for a new PhD student has also been obtained through the H.W. Saunders Chair and Cooperative Forestry Research Unit at the University of Maine. These data, as well as annual growth data collected since the start of the experiment, will be used to address the three questions described above as part of a PhD thesis.

Progress 10/01/13 to 09/30/14

Outputs
Target Audience: Forest managers and researchers working in the spruce-fir forests of the US Northeast. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Professional development efforts were provided for two graduate students and a post-doctoral fellow. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Results from these projects have been actively disseminated at several field tours, workshops, meetings, and scientific conferences with forest managers and researchers. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? We plan to continue planned measurements, analyses, publication, and associated outreach efforts for these studies.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Commercial Thinning Research Network (CTRN) - Scheduled annual measurement of more than 15,000 trees was completed on all 15 CTRN research sites across the state of Maine this year. A new NSF proposal was begun to support and individual-tree analysis of CTRN sites. An analysis of the decadal development of forest regeneration was published in a journal article. Austin Pond Study (APS) - Logging operations for a third wave of treatments was completed, permanent plots were established, and inital post-logging measurements completed. A 40-year analysis of ground vegation dynamics following herbicide and precommercial thinning was completed and published in a journal article by a post-doctoral fellow on the project. Silvicultural Intensity & Species Composition Study (SIComp) - A PhD student completed his dissertation, received his degree, and published two journal articles on this project. Partial Harvesting Impacts Study – A PhD student completed an analysis of inventory methods used in partially harvested stands and published a journal article on the work. Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program (AFERP) – Pre-treatment measurements were completed and preparation of the third 10-year expansion of harvest gaps begun. Key results from all five studies have been presented at state, regional, and international conferences, workshops, and field tours with foresters, policy makers, and researchers. In addition, a wide variety of journal articles, technical reports, theses, and other publications have been used to disseminate results.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Bataineh, M.M., R.G. Wagner, M.G. Olson, E.K. Olson. 2013. Midrotation response of ground vegetation to herbicide and precommercial thinning in the Acadian Forest of Maine, USA. Forest Ecology & Management 313: 132143.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Olson, M.G., S.R. Meyer, R.G. Wagner, and R.S. Seymour. 2014. Commercial thinning stimulates natural regeneration in sprucefir stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 44(3): 173-181.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Nelson, A.S., A.R. Weiskittel, and R.G. Wagner. 2014. Development of branch, crown, and vertical distribution leaf area models for contrasting hardwood species in Maine, USA. Trees 28(1): 17-30.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Bataineh, M.M., L. Kenefic, A.R.Weiskittel, R.G. Wagner, and J. Brissette. 2013. Influence of partial harvesting and site factors on the abundance and composition of natural regeneration in the Acadian Forest of Maine, USA. Forest Ecology & Management 306: 96106.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Rice B., A.R. Weiskittel, and R.G. Wagner. 2014. Efficiency of alternative forest inventory methods in partially harvested stands. European Journal of Forest Research 133(2): 261-272.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Nelson, A.S., and R.G. Wagner. 2014. Spatial coexistence of American beech and sugar maple regeneration in post-harvest northern hardwood forests. Annals of Forest Science 71: 781789.


Progress 10/01/12 to 09/30/13

Outputs
Target Audience: Forest researchers, forest managers, policy makers, and the general public are the target audiences for this project. They all have been reached through a variety of field tours, conference presentations, and publications. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Professional development efforts have been provided directly for three graduate students and a post-doctoral fellow. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Results from these projects have been actively disseminated at field tours, workshops, meetings, and scientific conferences with forest managers and researchers. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? We plan to continue planned measurements, analyses, publication, and associated outreach efforts for these studies.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Commercial Thinning Research Network (CTRN) - Scheduled measurement of more than 15,000 trees was completed on all 15 CTRN research sites across the state of Maine this year. A MS student (Patrick Clune) completed his analysis and thesis on the 10-year stand responses to commercial thinning for both CTRN studies. A new NSF proposal was funded to support and individual-tree analysis of CTRN sites. An analysis of the decadal development of forest regeneration was completed and a manuscript submitted to a journal on the results. Austin Pond Study (APS) - The growth & yield and financial analysis of the 40-year results following various combinations of herbicide application and precommercial thinning was completed by a post-doctoral fellow, and a manuscript published in a leading journal. A new grant is allowing us to superimpose a third wave of commercial thinning and timber stand improvement treatments over the original experiment. All plots were measured during summer 2013 and logging completed on PCT half of the plots. New logging equipment is being sought to harvest the non-PCT half of the experiment, which we hope to have completed by summer 2014. An analysis of 40-year ground vegetation response to the original treatments also was completed and submitted to a journal. Silvicultural Intensity & Species Composition Study (SIComp) - A PhD student completed his PhD dissertation on this project entitled Production Ecology and Stand Dynamics of Young Acadian Forest Stands in Response to Silvicultural Intensity and Compositional Objectives. Four chapters on various aspects of the study were completed. Three chapters have been published and the final one is being prepared for submission to a journal. Partial Harvesting Impacts Study – A PhD student completed measurements of 50 partially harvested stands across northern Maine. A manuscript comparing various inventory sampling methods in partially harvested stands was accepted for publication. Analysis and writing of three additional chapters is continuing. Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program (AFERP) – Responsibility for the experiment was transferred to Co-PI R.S. Seymour this year. Long-term maintenance and measurement of this experiment is continuing. Key results from all five studies have been presented at state, regional, and international conferences, workshops, and field tours with foresters, policy makers, and researchers. In addition, journal articles, technical reports, theses, and other publications have been used to disseminate results.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Bataineh, M.M., L. Kenefic, A.R.Weiskittel, R.G. Wagner, and J. Brissette. 2013. Influence of partial harvesting and site factors on the abundance and composition of natural regeneration in the Acadian Forest of Maine, USA. Forest Ecology & Management 306: 96106.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Bataineh, M.M., R.G. Wagner, A.R. Weiskittel. 2013. Long-term response of spruce-fir stands to herbicide and precommercial thinning: Observed and projected growth, yield, and financial returns in central Maine, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 43(4): 385-395.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Nelson, A.S., R.G. Wagner, M.R. Saunders, and A.R. Weiskittel. 2013. Influence of management intensity on the productivity of young early successional Acadian stands in eastern Maine. Forestry 86 (1): 79-89.
  • Type: Theses/Dissertations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Nelson, A.S. 2013. Production ecology and stand dynamics of young Acadian forest stands in response to silvicultural intensity and compositional objectives. PhD thesis, University of Maine, Orono.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Olson, M., S. Meyer, R. Wagner, and R. Seymour. 2013. Response of Tree Regeneration to Commercial Thinning In Spruce-Fir Stands of Maine: First Decade Results From the Commercial Thinning Research Network. pp. 19-23, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2012 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 95p.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Roth, B., R. Wagner, R. Seymour, A. Weiskittel, D. Brockmann, and J. Benjamin. 2013. Austin Pond Study: Third wave update. pp. 35-36, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2012 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 95p.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Nelson, A., R. Wagner, and A. Weiskittel. 2013. Verification of Regional and National Aboveground Sapling Biomass Equations In Maine. pp. 37-40, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2012 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 95p.
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Rice, B., R. Wagner, and A. Weiskittel. 2013. Residual Conditions of 50 Partially Harvested Stands in Northern Maine. pp. 41-45, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2012 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 95p.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Weiskittel, A. and R. Wagner. 2013. Extending the Acadian Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to managed stands in the Northeast US. Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) Annual Meeting, April 9-11, 2013, St. Simmons, GA.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Bataineh, M., A. Nelson, R. Wagner, B. Roth, and A. Weiskittel. 2013. Individual-tree response to commercial thinning in northern Maine: Influence of including competition, site, and treatment regime in growth and yield models. Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) Annual Meeting, April 9-11, 2013, St. Simmons, GA.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Clune, P., R. Wagner, A. Weiskittel, and R. Seymour. 2013. Growth and development of Maine spruce-fir stands following commercial thinning. Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) Annual Meeting, April 9-11, 2013, St. Simmons, GA.
  • Type: Theses/Dissertations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Clune, P.M. 2013. Growth and development of Maine spruce-fir forests following commercial thinning. M.S. thesis, University of Maine, Orono.


Progress 10/01/11 to 09/30/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Commercial Thinning Research Network (CTRN) - Scheduled measurement of more than 15,000 trees was completed on all 15 network research sites across the state of Maine this year. Logging for the final commercial thinning timing of entry was completed for six study sites. A MS student is completing analysis of the 10-year stand responses to commercial thinning for both CTRN studies. His thesis should be complete in early 2013. Austin Pond Study (APS) - The growth & yield and financial analysis of the 40-year results following various combinations of herbicide application and precommercial thinning was completed by a post-doctoral fellow, and a manuscript was submitted and accepted for journal publication. A grant from the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit has allowed us to superimpose a new set of commercial thinning and timber stand improvement treatments over the original experiment. The plots were laid out and marked during summer 2012. Logging is schedule to be completed in early 2013. Silvicultural Intensity & Species Composition Study (SIComp) - A PhD student completed his third field season which include an intensive soil sampling and leaf area analysis of the experimental plots. He also completed analysis and writing for 3 of 4 chapters for his dissertation. Two ms have been accepted for publication and one is in review. Analysis and writing of the fourth and final chapter is underway and should be completed during 2013. Partial Harvesting Impacts Study - A PhD student completed his second and final year of field work of 50 partially harvested stands across northern Maine. A ms comparing inventory sampling methods was completed and submitted for publication. Analysis and writing of three additional chapters is proceeding over the next year. Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program (AFERP) - Scheduled data collection began a hiatus this year, so no measurements were taken. Pre-treatment measurements are scheduled for summer of 2014 and the third expansion of the harvest gaps will occur from 2015 to 2018. Key results from all five studies have been presented at state, regional, and international conferences, workshops, and field tours with foresters, policy makers, and researchers. In addition, a wide variety of journal articles, technical reports, theses, and other publications have been used to disseminate results. PARTICIPANTS: Andrew Nelson is a PhD student working on the SIComp study. Ben Rice is a PhD student working on the AFERP and Partial Harvesting studies. Patrick Clune is an MS student assigned to the CTRN study. Brian Roth (Associate Director) and Mohammad Bataineh (post-doctoral fellow) are coordinating the Austin Pond study. Plum Creek is collaborating on the Austin Pond Study. Thirty members organizations of the CFRU are providing support for all of these studies. TARGET AUDIENCES: Forest researchers, forest managers, policy makers, and the general public are the target audiences for this project. They all have been reached through a variety of field tours, conference presentations, and publications. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: No significant modifications occurred this year to the studies.

Impacts
The CTRN has provided key information about the kinds of commercial thinning strategies that can be applied to the maturing SBW era stands to increase their long-term value. Practical management recommendations that have come from the CTRN indicate that young fir-spruce stands that have received a previous precommercial thinning should be entered early and spaced more widely than previously recommended to obtain highest financial returns. In older spruce-fir stands that have never been thinned, it is important that forest managers commercially thin no more than a third of the volume and only from lower diameter classes in order to avoid substantial losses from windthrow and breakage. The APS is the longest running experiment of its kind in North America and has provided a key understanding about the importance of vegetation management and precommercial thinning in the management of naturally regenerated stands in northern Maine. Early vegetation management was shown to be vital in regenerating stands to native softwood species and precommercial thinning was shown to double the merchantable softwood volume within 20 years of application. A new experiment was developed this year to overlay a wide range of commercial thinning and timber stand improvement treatments to provide managers with improved recommendations for managing SBW era stands. The SIComp experiment is providing much needed data about the increases in forest productivity that can be obtained by increasing the intensity of silvicultural investment and altering the species composition of stands among mixtures of hardwoods and softwoods. Ongoing ecophysiological and leaf area studies will provide a stronger basis for understanding and predicting gains in early stand growth and carbon sequestration from silviculture. This knowledge will be important for forest managers wanting to increase biomass for meeting the needs of future bioenergy markets. AFERP is providing insight in the ecological effects and management options that can be employed by small landowners interested smaller scale harvest systems that are consistent with the kinds of disturbance patterns that are common to the region. A new study quantifying patterns of partial harvesting across northern Maine in an effort to better understand the impacts and to better understand how to predict future stand development and productivity. Perhaps the most important contribution of these four experiments is in their providing new data and growth equations that will improve the region's forest simulators. Data from controlled and long-term silvicultural experiments are vital to improving the ability of these simulators to predict future forest conditions and wood volume yields under managed conditions. The models currently being used by forest managers to develop management plans and demonstrate sustainable harvest levels include very limited data about the effects of silviculture. Therefore, it is vital that forest simulators be improved as quickly as possible. Therefore this project is closely aligned and involves strong collaborations with Dr. Aaron Weiskittel's forest modeling efforts at the University of Maine.

Publications

  • Nelson, A.S., R.G. Wagner, M.R. Saunders, and A.R. Weiskittel. 2012. Influence of Management Intensity on The Productivity of Early Successional Acadian Stands in Eastern Maine. Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, Durham, New Hampshire, November 2-3, 2012.
  • Rice, B., R.G. Wagner, and A.R, Weiskittel. 2012. Nonselective Partial Harvesting in Maine. Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, Durham, New Hampshire, November 2-3, 2012.
  • Rice, B., R.G. Wagner, and A.R, Weiskittel. 2012. Natural Regeneration Following Partial Harvesting in Maine, Society of American Foresters National Convention. Spokane, WA, October 25, 2012.
  • Pekol, J., A. Weiskittel, R. Seymour, and R. Wagner. 2012. Influence of Commercial Thinning on Stand & Tree-Level Mortality Patterns of Balsam Fir and Red Spruce Forests in Maine With and Without Precommercial Thinning. pp. 56-65, In Roth, B. (Ed.) 2012. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Nelson, A.S., M.R. Saunders, R.G. Wagner, and A.R. Weiskittel. 2012. Early stand production of hybrid poplar and white spruce in mixed and monospecific plantations in eastern Maine. New Forests 43(4): 519-534.
  • Olson, M.G. and R.G. Wagner. 2012. Forty years of spruce-fir stand development following herbicide application and precommercial thinning in northern Maine, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42:(1) 1-11.
  • Hennigar, C.R., J.S. Wilson, D.A. MacLean, and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Applying a spruce budworm decision support system to Maine: Projecting spruce-fir volume impacts under alternative management and outbreak scenarios. Journal of Forestry 9: 332-342.
  • Nelson, A.S., and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Improving the composition of beech-dominated northern hardwood understories in northern Maine. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 28(4): 186-193.
  • Wagner, R. 2012. Director's Report. pp. 6, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Wagner, R. and A. Weiskittel. 2012. Center For Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS). pp. 16, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Roth, B., R. Wagner, R. Seymour, A. Weiskittel, and S. Meyer. 2012. Commercial Thinning Research Network: 2011 Update. pp. 18-19, In Roth, B. (Ed.) 2012. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Olson, M., S. Meyer, R. Wagner, and R. Seymour. 2012. Response of Tree Regeneration to Commercial Thinning In Spruce-Fir Stands of Maine: First Decade Results From the Commercial Thinning Research Network. pp. 20-23, In Roth, B. (Ed.) 2012. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Nelson, A., and R. Wagner. 2012. Influence of silvicultural intensity and species composition on the productivity of early successional stands in Maine. pp. 24-28, In Roth, B. (Ed.) Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Weiskittel, A., B. Rice, J. Wilson, and R. Wagner. 2012. Improved Sampling Methods and Growth & Yield Models for Partially Harvested Stands. pp. 37-39, In Roth, B. (Ed.) 2012. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Saunders, M.R., R.S. Seymour, and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Productivity and financial viability of natural disturbance-based management in the Acadian Forest. Final Project Report submitted to Northeastern States Research Cooperative (online at http://www.nsrcforest.org)
  • Nelson, A.S. and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Herbicide treatments can selectively improve the composition of natural hardwood regeneration in American beech-dominated understories in Maine, USA. pp. 16-18 in Proceedings of the 7th International Vegetation Management Conference. IUFRO Unit 1.01.04 Forest Vegetation Management. November 7th-10th, Valdivia, Chile.
  • Olson, M.G., R.G. Wagner, J.C. Brissette, and A.S. Nelson. 2011. Forty years of spruce-fir stand development following herbicide release and precommercial thinning in central Maine, USA. pp. 34-36 in Proceedings of the 7th International Vegetation Management Conference. IUFRO Unit 1.01.04 Forest Vegetation Management. November 7th-10th, Valdivia, Chile.
  • Nelson, A.S., R.G. Wagner, M.R. Saunders, and A.R. Weiskittel. 2011. Influence of silvicultural intensity and compositional objectives on the productivity of regenerating Acadian mixedwood stands in Maine, USA. pp. 90-92 in Proceedings of the 7th International Vegetation Management Conference. IUFRO Unit 1.01.04 Forest Vegetation Management. November 7th-10th, Valdivia, Chile.
  • Olson, M., S. Meyer, R. Wagner, and R. Seymour. 2012. Response of Softwood Regeneration to Commercial Thinning in Two Northeastern Spruce-Fir Stand Types: 1st Decade Results From the Commercial Thinning Research Network in Maine. Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, Durham, New Hampshire, November 2-3, 2012.
  • Bataineh, M.M., L. Kenefic, A.R.Weiskittel, R.G. Wagner, J. Brissette, and R.S. Seymour. 2012. The relative importance of harvesting and local site factors in structuring regeneration abundance and composition in partially harvested stands in central Maine. Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, Durham, New Hampshire, November 2-3, 2012.
  • Weiskittel, A., M. Russell, R. Wagner, and R. Seymour. 2012. Refinement of the Forest Vegetation Simulator Northeast Variant Growth and Yield Model: Phase III. pp. 85-93, In Roth, B. (Ed.) 2012. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2011 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 110p.
  • Nelson, A.S., A.R. Weiskittel, R.G. Wagner, and M.R. Saunders. 2012. Development and validation of aboveground sapling biomass equations in Maine. Northeastern Mensurationist Organization (NEMO) 2012 Meeting. October 1, 2012, State College, PA.
  • Rice, B., R.G. Wagner, and A.R, Weiskittel. 2012. Forest inventory methods in Maine's partially harvested stands. Northeastern Mensurationist Organization (NEMO) 2012 Meeting. October 1, 2012, State College, PA.
  • Rice, B., R.G. Wagner, and A.R, Weiskittel. 2012. Horizontal line sampling: Just interesting or is it feasible Southern Mensurationists 2012 Meeting. Jacksonville, FL. October 9, 2012.
  • Bataineh, M.M., R.G. Wagner, and A.R. Weiskittel. 2012. Capturing value through thinning - Forty-year results from the Austin Pond study. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit Forester's Workshop, May 16, 2012, Orono, ME.
  • Weiskittel, A., and R. Wagner. 2012. Extending the Acadian Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to Managed Stands in the Northeast US. National Science Foundation, Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) 2012 Annual Meeting, June 26-28, 2011, Bangor, ME.
  • Russell, M., A. Weiskittel, and R. Wagner. 2012. Refinement of Regional Growth and Yield Models for Naturally-Regenerated, Mixed Species Stands in the Northeast. National Science Foundation, Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) 2012 Annual Meeting, June 26-28, 2011, Bangor, ME.
  • Clune, P., R. Wagner, R. Seymour, A. Weiskittel. 2012. Growth and Development of Maine Spruce-fir Forests Following Commercial Thinning. Poster presented at National Science Foundation, Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) 2012 Annual Meeting, June 26-28, 2011, Bangor, ME.
  • Shultz, E.L. and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Forest Research Capacity in Universities and the USDA Forest Service in the Northeast: Preliminary Results. In Proc. 2011 Society of American Foresters National Convention, Honolulu, HI. November 2-6, 2011.


Progress 10/01/10 to 09/30/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Commercial Thinning Research Network (CTRN) - Scheduled measurement of more than 12,000 trees was completed on all 12 network research sites across the state of Maine this year. Three new study sites with mid-quality productivity were established and the first round of thinning treatments applied, bring the total number of CTRN study sites to fifteen. A MS student completed a MS thesis examining the 10-year patterns of stand and individual-tree mortality following commercial thinning in September 2011. A new MS student was brought on to analyze the 10-year stand responses to commercial thinning. He has made excellent progress over the past year cleaning a very large data base of over a million records and building initial models. Austin Pond Study (APS) - The 40-year stand dynamics following various combinations of herbicide application and precommercial thinning were assessed with the remeasurement and analysis of the CFRU Austin Pond Study in northern Maine. A post-doctoral fellow provided support for the analysis and the preparation of a journal manuscript this year. Silvicultural Intensity & Species Composition Study (SIComp) - All scheduled measurements were made from 40 experimental plots this year. A PhD student completed his second field season of a 3 x 3 factorial design including different origins (planted vs. natural), silvicultural intensity (vegetation control, spacing), and species composition (hardwood, mixedwood, softwood). An intensive leaf area and soil sampling was conducted during the 2010 and 2011 field seasons to provide data for process model development. Acadian Forest Research Program (AFERP) - All regularly scheduled measurements of overstory trees, tree regeneration, understory vegetation, retention trees, and downed woody material on permanent sample plots were collected this year. Data collection for all 9 Research Areas is now complete and we are preparing for third gap expansions that will occur from 2015-2017. Two journal articles describing the first decadal response to treatment in a disturbance-based silviculture experiment in Maine and nutrient concentrations of down woody debris were published. Two additional manuscripts describing stand and vegetation dynamics were also published. A new PhD student developed a research proposal on the effects of partial harvesting in Maine forests, secured funding with an extramural grant, and completed his second season of field work. PARTICIPANTS: Ben Rice and Andrew Nelson are PhD students working on the AFERP and SIComp studies, respectively. Patrick Clune is an MS student assigned to the CTRN study. TARGET AUDIENCES: Forest researchers, forest managers, policy makers, and the general public are the target audiences for this project. They all have been reached through a variety of field tours, conference presentations, and publications. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: A new proposal was funded this year by the CFRU to overlay a new set of treatments on the Austin Pond Study. This new study complements the overall objectives of this project and has therefore been added.

Impacts
The CTRN has provided key information about the kinds of commercial thinning strategies that can be applied to the maturing SBW era stands to increase their long-term value. Practical management recommendations that have come from the CTRN indicate that young fir-spruce stands that have received a previous precommercial thinning should be entered early and spaced more widely than previously recommended to obtain highest financial returns. In older spruce-fir stands that have never been thinned, it is important that forest managers commercially thin no more than a third of the volume and only from lower diameter classes in order to avoid substantial losses from windthrow and breakage. The APS is the longest running experiment of its kind in North America and has provided a key understanding about the importance of vegetation management and precommercial thinning in the management of naturally regenerated stands in northern Maine. Early vegetation management was shown to be vital in regenerating stands to native softwood species and precommercial thinning was shown to double the merchantable softwood volume within 20 years of application. A new experiment was developed this year to overlay a wide range of commercial thinning and timber stand improvement treatments to provide managers with improved recommendations for managing SBW era stands. The SIComp experiment is providing much needed data about the increases in forest productivity that can be obtained by increasing the intensity of silvicultural investment and altering the species composition of stands among mixtures of hardwoods and softwoods. Ongoing ecophysiological and leaf area studies will provide a stronger basis for understanding and predicting gains in early stand growth and carbon sequestration from silviculture. This knowledge will be important for forest managers wanting to increase biomass for meeting the needs of future bioenergy markets. AFERP is providing insight in the ecological effects and management options that can be employed by small landowners interested smaller scale harvest systems that are consistent with the kinds of disturbance patterns that are common to the region. A new study under AFERP is quantifying patterns of partial harvesting across northern Maine in an effort to better understand the impacts and to better understand how to predict future stand development and productivity. Perhaps the most important contribution of these four experiments is in their providing new data and growth equations that will improve the region's forest simulators. Data from controlled and long-term silvicultural experiments are vital to improving the ability of these simulators to predict future forest conditions and wood volume yields under managed conditions. The models currently being used by forest managers to develop management plans and demonstrate sustainable harvest levels include very limited data about the effects of silviculture. Therefore, it is vital that forest simulators be improved as quickly as possible. Therefore this project is closely aligned and involves strong collaborations with Dr. Aaron Weiskittel's forest modeling efforts at the University of Maine.

Publications

  • Amos-Binks, L.J., D.A. MacLean, J.S. Wilson, and R.G. Wagner. 2010. Temporal changes in species composition of mixedwood stands in northwest New Brunswick: 1946-2008. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40: 1-12.
  • Pekol, J.R. 2011. The influence of commercial thinning on stand- and tree-level mortality patterns of balsam fir (Abies balsamea) and red spruce (Picea rubens) forests in Maine that have or have not received precommercial thinning. MS thesis, University of Maine, Orono.
  • Maguire, D., T. Harrington, and B. Wagner. 2011. A model describing the effects of crown closure on the dynamics of competing vegetation in young Douglas-fir plantations. pp. 44-47. In Center for Intensive Planted-Forest Silviculture, Annual Report 2010. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. 60p.
  • Wagner, R.G. 2011. Director's Report. pp. 3. In Mercier, W.J. and Nelson, A.S. (Eds.) 2011. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2010 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 60p.
  • Wagner, R.G. 2011. Financial Report. pp. 6-8. In Mercier, W.J. and Nelson, A.S. (Eds.) 2011. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2010 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 60p.
  • Pekol, J., A. Weiskittel, R.G. Wagner, and R. Seymour. 2010. The effects of precommerical and commercial thinning on individual-tree mortality in red spruce - balsam fir stands across Maine. pp. 92 In Proceedings of Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, October 14-16, 2010, Universite de Moncton, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 99p.
  • Rice, B. and R.G. Wagner. 2010. Effects of nonselective partial harvesting in Maine's working forests. pp. 95 In Proceedings of Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, October 14-16, 2010, Universite de Moncton, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 99p.
  • Nelson, A.S. and R.G. Wagner, and M.R. Saunders. 2010. Influence of silvicultural intensity and compositional objectives on the productivity of regenerating Acadian forest stands. pp. 45 In Proceedings of Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, October 14 - 16, 2010, Universite de Moncton, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 99p.
  • Olson, M.G. and R.G. Wagner. 2010. 40-Year Compositional Dynamics of a Long-Term Silviculture Experiment in Northern Maine: The Austin Pond Study. pp. 46 In Proceedings of Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, October 14 - 16, 2010, Universite de Moncton, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 99p.
  • Clune, P., R.G. Wagner, A. Weiskittel, R.S. Seymour, and S. Meyer. 2010. Commercial Thinning Research Network: New site additions and plans for future analysis of commercial thinning responses in Maine spruce-fir stands. pp. 81 In Proceedings of Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, October 14 - 16, 2010, Universite de Moncton, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 99p.
  • Briedis, J.I., J.S. Wilson, J.G. Benjamin, and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Logging residue volumes and characteristics following integrated roundwood and energy-wood whole-tree harvesting in central Maine. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 28(2): 66-71.
  • Arseneault, J.E., M.R. Saunders, R.S. Seymour, and R.G. Wagner. 2011. First decadal response to treatment in a disturbance-based silviculture experiment in Maine. Forest Ecology and Management 262 (3): 404-412.
  • Briedis, J.I., J.S. Wilson, J.G. Benjamin, and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Biomass retention following whole-tree, energy wood harvests in central Maine: Adherence to five state guidelines. Biomass and Bioenergy 35: 3551-3559.
  • Olson, M.G. and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Factors affecting species richness of tree regeneration in mixedwood stands of central Maine. Journal of Vegetation Science 22(2): 300-311.
  • Olson, M.G. and R.G. Wagner. 2010. Long-term compositional dynamics of Acadian mixedwood stands under different silvicultural regimes. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40: 1993-2002.
  • Meyer, S.R., R.G. Wagner, R.S. Seymour, A. Weiskittel, and W. Mercier. 2011. Commercial Thinning Research Network: 2010 Update. pp. 13-15. In Mercier, W.J. and Nelson, A.S. (Eds.) 2011. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2010 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 60p.
  • Nelson, A.S. and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Productivity of hybrid poplar on forested sites in Maine. pp. 16-22. In Mercier, W.J. and Nelson, A.S. (Eds.) 2011. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2010 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 60p.
  • Weiskittel, A.R., R.G. Wagner, and R.S. Seymour. 2011. refinement of the Forest Vegetation Simulator Northeastern Variant growth and yield model: Phase 2. pp. 23-30. In Mercier, W.J. and Nelson, A.S. (Eds.) 2011. Cooperative Forestry Research Unit: 2010 Annual Report. University of Maine, Orono, ME. 60p.
  • MacLean, David A.; et al. 2010. Forest Dynamics, Succession and Habitat Relationships Under Differing Levels of Silviculture. Sustainable Forest Management Network, Edmonton, Alberta. 75 pp.
  • Wagner, R.G., and A.S. Nelson. 2011. Improving the Composition of Beech Dominated Northern Hardwood Understories in Northern Maine. In Proceedings of the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) 103rd annual general meeting and conference, Huntsville, Ontario, September 18-21, 2011.
  • Clune, P., R. Wagner, R. Seymour, A. Weiskittel. 2011. Growth and Development of Maine Spruce-fir Forests Following Commercial Thinning (CAFS.10.32). Poster presented at National Science Foundation, Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) 2011 Annual Meeting, June 14-16, 2011, Seattle, WA.
  • Saunders, M.R., S. Fraver, and R.G. Wagner. 2011. Nutrient concentration of down woody debris in mixedwood forests in central Maine, USA. Silva Fennica 45(2): 197-210.
  • Hoepting, M.K., R.G. Wagner, J. McLaughlin, and D.G. Pitt. 2011. Timing and duration of herbaceous vegetation control in northern conifer plantations: 15th-year tree growth and soil nutrient effects. Forestry Chronicle 87(3): 398-413.
  • Russell, M., A. Weiskittel, and R. Wagner. 2011. Refinement of Regional Growth and Yield Models for Naturally-Regenerated, Mixed Species Stands in the Northeast. National Science Foundation, Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS) 2011 Annual Meeting, June 14-16, 2011, Seattle, WA.
  • Wagner, R.G., J.G. Benjamin, A.R. Weiskittel, and K.M. Laustsen. 2011. Factors affecting increases in biomass production from Maine forests. In Proc. Woody Biomass Energy Research Symposium for the Northern Forest, April 28 to 30, 2011, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.
  • Nelson, A.S. and R.G. Wagner. 2010. Spatial patterns of coexisting shade-tolerant northern hardwood regeneration in understories dominated by Fagus grandifolia in Maine. pp. 44 In Proceedings of Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference, October 14 - 16, 2010, Universite de Moncton, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 99p.