The application of single-tree selection compared to diameter-limit cutting in an upland oak-hickory forest on the Cumberland Plateau in Jackson County, AlabamaThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Cumberland Plateau region upland oak forests have undergone a myriad of disturbances (including periods of few and minor disturbances). Traditional timber harvesting practices such as diameter-limit cutting have negatively altered species composition and skewed stand structure, especially on medium-quality sites. We assessed the ability of single-tree selection to improve stand characteristics by comparing species structural and compositional responses, and assessing changes in productivity and quality with stands harvested by diameter-limit cutting. The single-tree selection marking guidelines specified a minimum diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) of 6 inches, a maximum d.b.h. of 30 inches, and a q-value of 1.4. The diameter-limit cut targeted stems 14 inches d.b.h. and greater. Both treatments had a target residual basal area of 65 square feet per acre, a density level that approximates the B-level stocking for upland oaks. All stands were harvested in 2005. Observed residual basal area averaged 61.5 square feet per acre with 66 stems per acre in the single-tree selection stands. The diameter-limit cut left a residual basal area of 39 square feet per acre with 64 stems per acre; there were no residual trees 16 inches d.b.h. and greater. The single-tree selection targeted all species, and the proportion of hickory and yellow-poplar declined following the harvest. For the diameter-limit cut, all chestnut oak and most white oaks were removed.