Light, canopy closure, and overstory retention in upland Ozark forestsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Foresters, wildlife biologists, and naturalists manipulate forest composition and structure for numerous reasons including forest regeneration, timber production, wildlife habitat, conservation of native biodiversity, and ecosystem restoration. Light conditions in the understory of forests and woodlands are often key in meeting the management objectives. In this study, predictive models were developed relating mean diurnal understory photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) (400 to 700 nm) as percentages of above canopy (understory PAR) to measures of canopy closure, stocking, basal area, and density. Relationships between percent crown closure and density in Missouri’s upland oak (Quercus spp.) and oak-pine (Pinus spp.) stands are not well defined, nor are the relationships between each measure and light conditions near the forest floor. Our objectives for this paper were: (1) to analyze the relationships between understory PAR and stand metrics and (2) to analyze the relationships between canopy closure and stand metrics. Understory PAR may be predicted by models utilizing stocking, basal area, or stand density, but understory PAR was primarily controlled by canopy closure. Canopy closure was related to stocking and density.