Effects of alternative silviculture on stump sprouting in the southern Appalachians

  • Authors: Atwood, Chad; Fox, Thomas; Loftis, David L.
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Forest Ecology and Management 257 (2009) 1305–1313.


Stump sprouts are an important form of regeneration for a number of species in the southern

Appalachians, especially the oaks (Quercus spp.). Alternative regeneration systems to clearcutting such

as shelterwood and leave-tree systems are being implemented in many hardwood stands in the

Appalachians. However, the effects of these alternative silvicultural systems on stump sprouts are not

known. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of three silvicultural systems: a clearcut, leave-tree, and

shelterwood on stump sprouting. These treatments were implemented in seven stands in Virginia and

West Virginia in the Appalachian Plateau (AP) and Ridge and Valley (RV) physiographic provinces. The

stands were even-aged oak dominated Appalachian hardwood stands with ages ranging from 62 to 100

years. Species were placed into six groups: (1) red oak (Quercus spp.), (2) chestnut oak (Q. prinus L.), (3) white

oak (Q. alba L.) and hickory (Carya spp.), (4) red maple (Acer rubrum L.), (5) mixed mesic, and (6)midstory

groups. Partial harvesting also reduced the number of sprouts per stump for the red oak group and red

maple. Sprouting probabilities were generally less in the Appalachian Plateau than the Ridge and Valley,

particularly for the oaks (Quercus spp.). Partial harvesting systems decreased sprouting in both

physiographic provinces. However, the sprouting in specific species groups varied between the two

physiographic provinces. In the Ridge and Valley, the highest sprouting rates were in the clearcut for the

red oak (60%), chestnut oak (77%), white oak–hickory (26%), and midstory (33%) species groups. Red

maple sprouting was highest in the leave-tree (67%) in the Ridge and Valley. The mixed mesic and

midstory groups were only reduced in the Ridge and Valley. Sprouting was negatively correlated with

residual basal area for the red oak group, chestnut oak, and red maple. For the all oak species except

white oak, sprouting was reduced by about 2% for every 1m2/ha increase in residual basal area.

  • Citation: Atwood, Chad J; Fox, Thomas R; Loftis, David L. 2009. Effects of alternative silviculture on stump sprouting in the southern Appalachians. Forest Ecology and Management 257 (2009) 1305–1313.
  • Keywords: Variable retention harvest, oak regeneration, clearcut, leave-tree, shelterwood, stump sprouts
  • Posted Date: November 12, 2009
  • Modified Date: November 13, 2009
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