Wildland Resources Faculty Publications

Wildland Resources Faculty Publications Recent documents in Wildland Resources Faculty Publications

  • Leaf Area and Structural Changes after Thinning in Even-Aged Picea rubens and Abies balsamea Stands in Maine, USA
    by R. Justin DeRose et al. on March 28, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    We tested the hypothesis that changes in leaf area index (LAI m2 m−2) and mean stand diameter following thinning are due to thinning type and residual density. The ratios of pre- to postthinning diameter and LAI were used to assess structural changes between replicated crown, dominant, and low thinning treatments to 33% and 50% residual density in even-aged Picea rubens and Abies balsamea stands with and without a precommercial thinning history in Maine, USA. Diameter ratios varied predictably by thinning type: low thinnings were 0.7 but 1.0 . LAI change was affected by type and intensity of thinning. On average, 33% density reduction removed 50% of LAI. Overall reduction of LAI was generally greatest in dominant thinnings (54%), intermediate in crown thinnings (46%), and lowest in low thinnings (35%). Upon closer examination by crown classes, the postthinning distribution of LAI between upper and lower crown classes varied by thinning history, thinning method, and amount of density reduction.

  • A Density Management Diagram for Norway Spruce in the Temperate European montane region
    by Giorgio Vacchiano et al. on March 28, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Norway spruce is one of the most important conifer tree species in Europe, paramount for timber provision, habitat, recreation, and protection of mountain roads and settlements from natural hazards. Although natural Norway spruce forests exhibit diverse structures, even-aged stands can arise after disturbance or as the result of common silvicultural practice, including off-site afforestation. Many even-aged Norway spruce forests face issues such as senescence, insufficient regeneration, mechanical stability, sensitivity to biotic disturbances, and restoration. We propose the use of Density Management Diagrams (DMD), stand-scale graphical models designed to project growth and yield of even-aged forests, as a heuristic tool for assessing the structure and development of even-aged Norway spruce stands. DMDs are predicated on basic tree allometry and the assumption that self-thinning occurs predictably in forest stands. We designed a DMD for Norway spruce in temperate Europe based on wide-ranging forest inventory data. Quantitative relationships between tree- and stand-level variables that describe resistance to selected natural disturbances were superimposed on the DMD. These susceptibility zones were used to demonstrate assessment and possible management actions related to, for example, windfirmness and effectiveness of the protective function against rockfall or avalanches. The Norway spruce DMD provides forest managers and silviculturists a simple, easy-to-use, tool for evaluating stand dynamics and scheduling needed density management actions. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

  • Long-Term Landscape Changes in a Subalpine Spruce-Fir forest in Central Utah, USA
    by Jesse L. Morris et al. on March 28, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Background: In Western North America, increasing wildfire and outbreaks of native bark beetles have been mediated by warming climate conditions. Bioclimatic models forecast the loss of key high elevation species throughout the region. This study uses retrospective vegetation and fire history data to reconstruct the drivers of past disturbance and environmental change. Understanding the relationship among climate, antecedent disturbances, and the legacy effects of settlement-era logging can help identify the patterns and processes that create landscapes susceptible to bark beetle epidemics. Methods: Our analysis uses data from lake sediment cores, stand inventories, and historical records. Sediment cores were dated with radiometric techniques (14C and210Pb/137Cs) and subsampled for pollen and charcoal to maximize the temporal resolution during the historical period (1800 CE to present) and to provide environmental baseline data (last 10,500 years). Pollen data for spruce were calibrated to carbon biomass (C t/ha) using standard allometric equations and a transfer function. Charcoal samples were analyzed with statistical models to facilitate peak detection and determine fire recurrence intervals. Results: The Wasatch Plateau has been dominated by Engelmann spruce forests for the last ~10,500 years, with subalpine fir becoming more prominent since 6000 years ago. This landscape has experienced a dynamic fire regime, where burning events are more frequent and of higher magnitude during the last 3000 years. Two important disturbances have impacted Engelmann spruce in the historical period: 1) high-grade logging during the late 19th century; and (2) a high severity spruce beetle outbreak in the late 20th century that killed >90 % of mature spruce (>10 cm dbh). Conclusions: Our study shows that spruce-dominated forests in this region are resilient to a range of climate and disturbance regimes. Several lines of evidence suggest that 19th century logging promoted a legacy of simplified stand structure and composition such that, when climate became favorable for accelerated beetle population growth, the result was a landscape-scale spruce beetle outbreak. The lasting impacts of settlement-era landscape history from the Wasatch Plateau, UT may be relevant for other areas of western North America and Europe where sufficient host carrying capacity is important in managing for resistance and resilience to outbreaks.

  • Dendrochronology of Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma (Torr.) Little)
    by R. Justin DeRose et al. on March 28, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Utah juniper was a foundational species for the discipline of dendrochronology, having been used in the early 20th Century investigations of Mesa Verde, but has been largely ignored by dendrochronologists since. Here we present dendrochronological investigations of Utah juniper core and cross-sectional samples from four sites in northern Utah. We demonstrate that, contrary to the general opinion among many dendrochronologists, Utah juniper exhibits excellent crossdating that is reflective of its sensitivity to climate-a desirable characteristic for dendroclimate reconstruction. Across all four sites the dominant signal for annual ring-width increment occurred during the growing season and was positive for precipitation and negative for temperature. This corroborates ecophysiological studies that highlight Utah juniper's aggressive water-use behavior and desiccation tolerance that together enable survival at extremely negative soil water potentials. This behavior differs from co-occurring Pinus spp. (i.e. P. edulis and P. monophylla) that avoid cavitation at the cost of carbon starvation. We determine that the annual radial increment of Utah juniper rings is particularly responsive to soil moisture availability, and is in fact a useful proxy for hydroclimatic variables such as precipitation, drought, and streamflow. Its geographic distribution spans a large swath of the Interior West, including areas where other more commonly sought-after species for dendrochronology do not occur, and ought to be considered crucial for complementing the rich network of tree-ring chronologies in the western U.S.

  • Statistical Treatment for the Wet Bias in Tree-Ring Chronologies: A Case Study from the Interior West, USA
    by Yan Sun et al. on March 28, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Dendroclimatic research has long assumed a linear relationship between tree-ring increment and climate variables. However, ring width frequently underestimates extremely wet years, a phenomenon we refer to as ‘wet bias’. In this paper, we present statistical evidence for wet bias that is obscured by the assumption of linearity. To improve tree-ring-climate modeling, we take into account wet bias by introducing two modified linear regression models: a linear spline regression (LSR) and a likelihood-based wet bias adjusted linear regression (WBALR), in comparison with a quadratic regression (QR) model. Using gridded precipitation data and tree-ring indices of multiple species from various sites in Utah, both LSR and WBALR show a significant improvement over the linear regression model and out-perform QR in terms of in-sample R2 and out-of-sample MSE. This further shows that the wet bias emerges from nonlinearity of tree-ring chronologies in reconstructing precipitation. The pattern and extent of wet bias varies by species, by site, and by precipitation regime, making it difficult to generalize the mechanisms behind its cause. However, it is likely that dis-coupling between precipitation amounts (e.g., percent received as rain/snow or percent infiltrating the soil) and its availability to trees (e.g., root zone dynamics), is the primary mechanism driving wet bias.


Lisa Ellsworth
Project Co-coordinator
Dpt. Fisheries & Wildlife
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR  97330
(541) 737-0008

Beth Newingham
Project Co-coordinator
GB Rangelands Research
USDA Ag. Res. Service
Reno, NV 89512
(775) 784-6057 ext. 233

Lael Gilbert
Outreach Coordinator
Utah State University
5215 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-5215
(435) 797-8455

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