Oak regeneration following complete and partial harvesting in the Mississippi Bluff Hills: preliminary resultsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Bluff Hills subregion encompasses about 4.5 million acres along the eastern side of the Mississippi Valley Loess Plains province, primarily in MS and TN. Soils are silt loams and are considered some of the most productive hardwood sites in the United States. Efforts to regenerate these forests to oak (Quercus spp.) has met with limited success. Due to these difficulties in regenerating oak, we initiated a study to test several regeneration methods. Three treatments included clearcut harvesting, partial harvesting using a combination of even-aged and uneven-aged techniques, and partial harvesting followed by herbicide-injection of less-desirable species. We conducted pre-harvest measurements, followed by first (stocking only), fifth, and eleventh year post-harvest measurements on three sites in Warren County, MS. Results after 11 years showed that clearcut plots were dominated by yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.), despite the continued presence of oak reproduction. Partial harvesting increased oak reproduction stocking, but after 11 years this reproduction was competing with a shade-tolerant midstory canopy. Partial harvesting combined with midstory competition control greatly increased oak reproduction stocking, but also increased yellow-poplar reproduction. These results indicate that different approaches, including timing of treatments, are needed to regenerate oak successfully in the Bluff Hills.