Retention tree survival trends in burned and unburned areas managed using the irregular shelterwood methodThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Survival of individual stems selected as retention trees in irregular shelterwoods is important as these stems are expected to remain for 20 percent or longer of the subsequent rotation. In mountainous terrain where windstorms may occur regularly and prescribed fire may be utilized to improve regeneration composition, survival of retention trees becomes less certain. An upland, mixed hardwood stand in Morgan County, Tennessee, received an irregular shelterwood harvest and a burn or no-burn treatment between 2014 and 2016. Retention tree assessments were made 3.5 years post-harvest and 2.5 years post-burn to allow for delayed individual stem mortality to occur. Results indicated greater mortality of retention trees in the burn treatment, but no differences in slope positions across treatments. Windthrow mortality ranged from 4.0 to 7.6 percent across all slope positions in the two treatments. Red oak species (Quercus spp., Section Lobatae) and conifer species had a higher probability of mortality than the yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) reference group. Managers should select desirable retention trees that avoid possible tree mortality and damage from logging and prescribed burns when implementing irregular shelterwoods in aging hardwood stands.