A prescription for old-growth-like characteristics in southern pinesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Recent interest in adding old-growth reserves confiicts with a projected increase in the demand for forest commodities. However, managing for old-growthlike characteristics may permit timber production from stands designed to be similar to primeval forests. A silvicultural strategy based on presettlement forest conditions is being tested on 120 ac of mature loblolly (Pinus taeda) and shortleaf (Pinus echinata) pine on the Crossett Experimental Forest in Arkansas. Reference conditions from historical photographs, surveyor notes, old explorer journals, early research papers, and technical reports guided the prescription’s design. A combination of harvesting, prescribed burns, and competition control should gradually produce structure similar to pine-dominated presettlement forests. Timber yield and natural attributes will be monitored and compared to traditional silvicultural practices to develop flexible prescriptions that can be modified later, if appropriate.