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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:30am - 10:45am
FOREST LANDSCAPE PROCESSES: Spatial Modeling and Inventories for Targeting Investment Into Oak-Hickory Restoration

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AUTHORS: Louis R. Iverson*, Matthew P. Peters, Jarel Bartig, Joanne Rebbeck, Todd Hutchinson, Stephen N. Matthews, Susan Stout – US Forest Service

ABSTRACT: Oak (Quercus spp.) and hickory (Carya spp.) forests in the eastern United States provide a host of ecosystem services as their mast are extremely valuable for wildlife, the timber is valuable, and they are generally more tolerant of weather extremes under a changing climate. They are, however, undergoing a severe decline in prominence throughout the region, yielding to more mesic and shade tolerant, largely maple-dominated forests. Two decades of research in Ohio have shown that opening the canopy, through prescribed fire and thinning, can promote oak and hickory regeneration, most successfully on drier ridges and south- and southwest-facing slopes. We present a methodology to target areas across a 17-county region (~22,000 km2) that may be more receptive, and thus more cost effective, to successful regeneration following silvicultural treatment. The GIS model is based primarily on the topography (digital elevation model) as topography and soils drive the overall moisture regime. It uses transformed aspect, slope angle, topographic position index, and slope position as inputs, with outputs into six classes for landform: ridge, SW upper slopes, SW lower slopes, NE upper slopes, NE lower slopes, and bottomland. The first three were combined into the Dry Oak Forest class that forms the core of area that has a higher probability to be restored with silviculture, provided some understory oak-hickory seedlings and saplings are present. To determine whether sufficient stocking is present for adequate regeneration, we use small (SILVAH) plots distributed among the stands of interest which map out as classes of ‘oakiness’ in the overstory and understory. Managers use this information to help determine their ‘zones of investment’ for maximum value with their limited resources.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:30am - 10:45am CDT
Spire Parlor