Residual Stand Quality Following Implementation of Uneven-Aged Silviculture in Even-Aged Oak-Hickory Forests in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas
A test of group-selection and single-tree selection was installed in 80-year-old even-aged oak-hickory stands in the Boston Mountains of northern Arkansas. Twenty-four 11-acre plots were installed in well stocked stands representing north or east and south or west aspects. Stands between group openings were cut to residual basal areas of 65 and 85 ft2 per acre using free thinning or structural control. Tree quality in residual stands was evaluated using U.S. Forest Service tree grades for factory lumber and Grosenbaugh tree classes. Trees 11.6 in. and larger in dbh were considered sawtimber and included in the analysis. The effects of density, cutting method, and aspect on tree grade were evaluated using 2,225 sawtimber-sized trees. Results indicate no difference among treatments due to the short time interval since cutting. However, 53 percent of sawtimber either were or have the potential to develop into high quality trees. A residual basal area of 65 ft2 or less is more likely to effectively increase tree quality and control species composition in the Boston Mountains than an 85 ft2 target basal area. Overall, this study indicates that there is excellent potential to improve stand tree quality in the Boston Mountains of northern Arkansas using uneven-aged silviculture.