Initial Effects of Reproduction Cutting Treatments on Residual Hard Mast Production in the Ouachita Mountains
We compared indices of total hard mast production (oak and hickory combined) in 20, second-growth, pine-hardwood stands under five treatments to determine the effects of different reproduction treatments on mast production in the Ouachita Mountains. We evaluated mast production in mature unharvested controls and stands under four reproduction cutting methods (single-tree selection, group selection, shelterwood, and clearcut with wildlife tree retention) during the first 6 yr after initial harvest. Mean Whitehead mast production indices were greater in shelter-woods and clearcuts with wildlife tree retention than in unharvested stands 5 of the 6 yr of study, indicating individual trees in these stands produced greater amounts of hard mast. Stand production valuesfor the 6 yr combined indicated group selections generally produced the greatest amounts of total hard mast, probably because competing pines in the matrix were thinned and hard mast-producing tree densities were unchanged after harvest. However, wide variation in residual density of mast trees existed among stands of the same treatment. Our results indicate hard mast production can be affected by different silvicultural treatments and managers should consider the importance of residual mast production along with other objectives when determining silvicultural treatments to apply.