Initial response of individual soft mast-producing plants to different forest regeneration methods in the Ouachita MountainsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Abstract - Recent policy changes have eliminated clearcutting as the primary pine regeneration method on Federal lands in the Southern United States. However, the effects of alternative natural regeneration methods on soft mast production are unknown. We compared plant coverage and mast production of 37 soft mast-producing plants among four regeneration methods (clearcut, shelterwood, single-tree selection, and group selection), and in mature, unharvested stands the first, third, and fifth years after timber harvest in the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas. Species richness and diversity of plants that produced mast were greatest in unharvested stands the first postharvest year, although total mast production did not differ among treatments. By the fifth postharvest year, total mast production and species richness were greater in harvested stands than in unharvested stands. Overall, shelterwoods most closely approximated the abundant soft mast production usually associated with clearcuts. Most of the 37 taxa investigated produced little or no mast, regardless of treatment. Mast from only seven taxa made up 48-100 percent of total production in each treatment. Pokeberry ( Phytolacca americana L.) was the most abundant soft mast produced in intensively harvested areas (clearcuts, shelterwoods, and group openings) the first year, but production declined dramatically in subsequent years. Blackberry ( Rubus spp.) was the most abundant mast in these areas by the fifth year. Muscadine grape ( Vitis rotundifolia Michx.) was generally the most abundant mast in other treatments.