Shelterwood-planted northern red oaks: integrated costs and options
Tree biology, environmental site conditions, relative monetary costs, management options, and the competitive struggle between planted trees and other vegetation were integrated when underplanting northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings in Boston Mountain shelterwoods. This approach provides insight into the collective costs (biological, environmental, and monetary) associated with artificial regeneration. This analysis is partly based on previous research that determined the competitive capacity of more than 4,000 seedlings planted under shelterwood overstories. Using these probabilities in our simple accounting of cost, the cost of obtaining one competitively successful tree was calculated under various combinations of environmental variables, silvicultural treatments and seedling sizes. A successful tree was defined as one predicted to survive and attain dominance or codominance 11 years after planting. The cost of trees that were not likely to survive or reach a dominant or codominant position was added to the cost of obtaining a successful tree. In this way, the cost of the competitive struggle between planted trees and other vegetation is integrated into the monetary cost per successful tree. Results provide a practical tool for evaluating various planting options in relation to both associated costs and the expected biological success of alternative planting prescriptions.