Early density management of longleaf pine reduces susceptibility to ice storm damageThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Pax winter storm of February 2014 caused widespread damage to forest stands throughout the southeastern U.S. In a long-term study of savanna plant community restoration at the Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC, precommercial thinning (PCT) of 8- to 11-year-old plantations of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) in 1994 reduced their susceptibility to stem bending and breakage from the storm 20 years later, despite the occurrence of an intensive commercial thinning just two years before the storm. Tree mortality in areas that had received PCT (25 percent) was less than where PCT had not occurred (40 percent). Incidence of heavy injury (e.g., crown loss of 75-99 percent, stem bent greater than 45 degrees) also was less with PCT (11 percent) than without PCT (16 percent).